This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project
to make the world's books discoverable online.
It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject
to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books
are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover.
Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the
publisher to a library and finally to you.
Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.
We also ask that you:
+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for
personal, non-commercial purposes.
+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.
+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it.
+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe.
About Google Book Search
Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web
at |http: //books .google .com/I
I^acbarb Collese V&tsx^.
Collection of Books on Proverbs, Em-
blems, and tbe Dance of Death.
Feb. 1, 1893.
ANCE OF UeATH.
-"' V f^
f '' '
- . /
Entered accordins^ to Act of Congress, in the year 1877, ^X GEORGE N. '1 H^MA.S,
in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C.
V ^ -•
I Dance of Death^
Henry KellIr & Co., 543 Clay Street.
^ -.arva.rd College Library,
" Wilt thou bring fine gold for a payment
For sins on this wise ?
For the glittering of raiment
And the shining of eyes,
For the painting of faces
And the sundering of trust,
For the sins of thine high places
And delight of thy lust?''
" Not with fine gold for a payment,
But with coin of sighs,
But with rending of raiment
And with weeping of eyes.
But with shame of stricken faces
And with strewing of dust,
For the sin of stately places
And lordship of lust."
HE writer of these pages is not
foolish enough to suppose that
lie can escape strong and bit-
ter condemnation for his utterances*
On this score he is not disposed to be
greatly troubled ; and for these reasons :
Firstly — he feels that he is performing
a duty; secondly — he is certain that his
sentiments will be endorsed by hundreds
upon whose opinion he sets great value;
thirdly — he relieves his mind of a bur-
den that h^is oppressed it for many
years; and fourthly — as is evident upon
the face of these pages — ^he is no pro-
fessed litterateur, who can be starved
by adverse criticism. Nevertheless he
would be apostate to his self-appointed
mission if he invited censure by un-
seemly defiance of those who must read
and pass judgment upon his work. While,
therefore, he does not desire to invoke
the leniency of the professional critic or
the casual reader, he does desire to
justify the position he has taken as far
as may be consistent with good taste.
It will doubtless be asserted by many:
That the writer is a "bigoted parson,"
whose puritanical and illiberal ideas con-
cerning matters of which he has no per-
sonal experience belong to an age that is
happily passed. On the contrary, he is
a man of the world, who has mixed
much in society both in the old world
and the new, and who knows whereof
That he is, for some reason, unable to
partake of the amusement he condemns,
and is therefore jealous of those more
fortunate than himself. Wrong again.
He has drunk deeply of the cup he
warns others to avoid; and has better
opportunities than the generality of men
to continue the draught if he found it
to his taste.
That he publishes from motives of
private malice. Private malice — no.
Malice of a certain kind, yes. Malice
against those who should know better
than to abuse the rights of hospitality
by making a bawdy-house of their host's
But the principal objection will doubt-
less refer to the plain language used.
My excuse, if indeed excuse be needed
for saying just what I mean, is, that it is
impossible to clothe in delicate terms
the intolerable nastiness which I ex-
pose, and at the same time to press the
truth home to those who are most in
need of it; I might as well tall^ to the
winds as veil my ideas in sweet phrases
when addressing people who it seems
cannot descry the presence of corruption
until it is held in all its putridity under
their very nostrils.
Finally, concerning the prudence and
advisability of such a publication, I have
only to say that I have consulted
many leading divines and principals
of educational institutions, all of whom
agree that the subject must be dealt
with plainly, and assure me that its
importance demands more than ordinary
Preface. 1 1
treatment — that it is a foeman worthy of
the sharpest steel ; for, say they : To
repeat the tame generalities uttered ffom
the pulpit, or the quiet tone of disappro-
bation adopted by the press, would be
to accord to the advocates of this evil a
power which they do not possess, and
to proclaim a weakness of its opponents
which the facts will not justify.
I have therefore spoken plainly and
to the purpose, that those who run — or
waltz — may read.
But there remains yet something to
be said, which is more necessary to my
own peace of mind, and to that of many
of my readers, than all that has gone
'before. So important is it, indeed, that
what I am about to say should be
distinctly understood by all those whose
criticism I value, and whose feelings I
i 2 PrefcLce.
respect, that I almost hesitate t6 consign
it to that limbo of egotism — the preface.
Be it known, then, that although in the
following pages I have, without com-
punction, attacked the folly and vice of
those who practice such, yet I would
rather my right hand should wither than
that the pen it wields should inflict a
single wound upon one innocent person.
I am yvilling to believe, nay, I knoWy
that there are many men and women
who can and do dance without an
impure thought or action; for theirs is
not the Dance of Death; th^y can take
a reasonable pleasure in one another's
society without wishing to be locked in
one another's embrace; they can rest
content with such graces as true refine-
ment teaches them are modest, without
leaping the bounds of decorum to ^
indulge in what a false and fatal refine-
ment styles the "poetry of motion;" in
short, to them the waltz, in its newest
phases at least, is a stranger. I would
not, like Lycurgus and Mahomet, cut
down all the vines, and forbid the drink-
ing of wine, because it makes some men
drunk. Dancers of this class, therefore,
I implore not to regard the ensuing
chapters as referring to themselves —
the cap does not fit their heads, let them
not attempt to wear it.
The same remarks will apply to some
of those heads of families who permit
and encourage dancing at their homes.
Many among them doubtless exercise a
surveillance too strict to admit of any-
thing improper taking place within their
doors; these stand in no need of either
advice or warning from me. But more
of them, I am grieved to say, are merely
blameless because they are ignorant of
what really does take place. The social
maelstrom whirls nightly in their draw-
ing-rooms; with their wealth, hospitality,
and countenance they unconsciously, but
none the less surely, lure the fairest
ships of life Into its mad waters. Let
these also, then, not be offended that in
this book I raise a beacon over the dark
vortex, within whose treacherous em-
brace so many sweet young souls have
been whirled to perdition.
"That motley d«m.! Oh.
It shall not be forgot!
With iti Phantom chased /or
Bj a crowd th>t seize it no
Throush a circle that eyet ret
To the self-same spotj
And mi>ch of Madness, and
And Horror, the soul of Ih
ri EAUER, I have an engagement
I to keep to-night. Let me take
I you with me; you will beinter-
But, stay — ^I have a condition to make
before I accept of your company. Have
you read the preface ? " No, of course
not ; who reads prefaces ? " Very well,
1 6 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
just oblige me by making mine an ex-
ception — it is a Gilead where you per-
haps may obtain balm for the wounds
you will receive on our expedition. And
now, supposing you to have granted this
request, let us prof:eed.
Our carriage pulls up before the en-
trance of an imposing mansion. From
every window the golden gaslight
streams out into the darkness; from
the wide-open door a perfect glory
floods the street from side to side.
There is a hum of subdued voices with-
in, there is a banging of coach doors
without; there is revelry brewing, we
may be sure.
We step daintily from our carriage
upon the rich carpet which preserves
our patent-leathers from the contamina-
tion of the sidewalk; we trip lightly up
the grand stone stairway to the en-
trance; obsequious lackeys relieve us
of our superfluous raiment; folding
A GOODLY COMPANY. I 7
doors fly open before us without so
much as a ''sesame" being uttered; and,
behold, we enter upon a scene of en-
Magnificent apartments succeed each
other in a long vista, glittering with
splendid decorations; costly frescoes are
overhead, luxurious carpets are under
foot, .priceless pictures, rich laces, rare
trifles of art are around us; an atmos-
phere of wealth, refinement, luxury, and
good taste is all-pervading.
But these are afterthoughts with us;
it is the splendor of the assembled com-
pany that absorbs our admiration now.
Let us draw aside and observe this
throng a little, my friend.
Would you have believed it possible
that so much beauty and richness could
have been collected under one roof?
Score upon score of fair women and
handsome men; the apparel of the
former rich beyond conception — of the
1 8 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
latter, immaculate to. a fault. The rooms
are pretty well filled already, but the cry
is still they come.
See yonder tall and radiant maiden,
as she enters leaning upon the arm of
her grey-headfed father. Mark her well,
my friend; I will draw your attention to
her again presently. How proud of her
the old man looks; and well he. may.
What divine grace of womanhood lives
in that supple form; what calm, sweet
beauty shines in that lovely face — a face
so pure and passionless in expression
that the nudity of bust and arms, and
the contour of limbs more than sug-
gested by the tightly clinging silk, call
for no baser admiration than we feel
when looking upon the representation of
an angel. Observe closely with what
high-bred and maidenly reserve she re-
sponds to the greeting of the Apollo in
** full dress " who bows low before her
— the very type of the elegant and
PRELIMINARIES, T O
polished gentleman. In bland and gen-
tle tones he begs a favor to be granted
a little later in the evening. With
downcast eyes she smiles consent; with
a bow he records the promise upon a
tablet in his hand. Gracefully she
moves forward again, leaning on her
^ father s arm, smiling and nodding to her
acquaintances, and repeating the harm-
less little ceremony described above with
perhaps a dozen other Apollos before
she reaches the end of the ropm.
"Ah, pure and loviely girl!" I hear
you mutter as she disappears, *' happy
indeed is he who can win that jewel for
a wife. That face will haunt me like a
dream!" Likely enough, O my friend!
but dreams are not all pleasant.
Now look again at this young wife
just entering with her husband. Is she
not beautiful! and how devotedly she
hangs upon his arm! With what a
triumphant glance around the room he
20 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
seems to say: "Behold my treasure —
my very own ; look at the gorgeousness
of her attire, ladies, and pray for such a
husband; gaze upon the fairness of her
face, gentlemen, and covet such a wife."
Again the Apollos step blandly forward,
again the little promises are lisped out
and recorded. And so the goodly com- ^
pany go on, introducing and being intro-
duced, and conversing agreeably to-
gether. A right pleasant and edifying
But, hark! The music strikes up; the
dancing is about to begin. You and I
do not dance; we withdraw to an adjoin-
ing room and take a hand at cards.
The hours go swiftly by and still we
play on. The clock strikes two; the
card-players are departing. But the
strains of the distant music have been
unceasing; the game does not flag in the
ball-room. You have not seen a dance
since your youth, you say, and then only
THE SCENE CHANGES. 21
the rude gambols of country-folk; you
would fain see before you go how these
dames and damsels of gentler breeding
The dance is at its height; we could
not have chosen a better time to see the
thing in its glory.
As we approach the door of the ball-
room the music grows louder and more
ravishing than ever; no confusion of
voices mars its delicious melody; the
only sounds heard beneath its strains are
a low swish and rustle as of whirling
robes, and a light, but rapid and inces-
sant shuffling of feet. The dull element
has gone home; those who remain have
better work to do than talking. We
push the great doors asunder and enter.
Ha! the air is hot and heavy here; it
breathes upon us in sensuous gusts of
varying perfumes. And no wonder.
A score of whirling scented robes stir it
into fragrance. How beautiful — but
22 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
you look aghast, my friend. Ah, I
forgot; these are not the rude country-
folk of your youth. You are dazzled —
bewildered. Then let me try to enliven
your dulled senses with a description of
what we see.
A score of forms whirl swiftly before
us under the softened gaslight. I say a
score of forms — but each is double —
they would have made two score before
the dancing began. Twenty floating
visions — each male and female. Twenty
women knit and growing to as many
men, undulate, sway, and swirl giddily
before us, keeping time with the delirious
melody of piano, harp, and violin,
But draw nearer — let us see how this
miracle is accomplished. Do you mark
yonder tall couple who seem even to
excel the rest in grace and ardor. Do
they not make a picture which might
put a soul under the ribs of Death ? Such
must have been the sight which made
A PRETTY PICTURE. 23
Speusippas incontinently rave : " O ad-
mirable, O divine Panareta! Who
would not admire her, who would not
love her, that sly)uld but see her dance
as I did ? O how she danced, how she
tripped, how she turned ! With what a
grace ! Felix qui Panareta fruitur ! O
most incomparable, only, Panareta!" Let
us take this couple for a sample. He is
stalwart, agile, mighty; she is tall, supple,
lithe, and how beautiful in form and
feature! Her head rests upon his shoul-
der, her face is upturned to his; her
naked arm is almost around his neck;
her swelling breast heaves tumultuously
against his; face to face they whirl, his
limbs interwoven with her limbs; with
strong right arm about her yielding
waist, he presses her to him till every
curve in the contour of her lovely body
thrills v/ith the amorous contact. Her
eyes look into his, but she sees nothing;
the soft music fills the room, but she
24 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
hears nothing; swiftly he whirls her
from the floor or bends her frail body to
and fro in his embrace, but she knows
it not; his hot breath is upon her hair,
his lips almost touch her forehead, yet
she does not shrink; his eyes, gleaming
with a fierce intolerable lust, gloat satyr-
like over her, yet she does not quail ; she
is filled with a rapture divine in its in-
tensity — she is in the maelstrom of burn-
ing desire — ^her spirit is with the gods.
With a last, low wail the music ceases.
Her swooning senses come back to life.
Ah, must it be ! Yes ; her companion
releases her from his embrace. Leaning
wearily upon his arm, the raj^ture faded
from her eye, the flush dying from her
cheek — enervated, limp, listless, worn
out — she is led to a seat, there to recover
from her delirium and gather her ener-
gies as best she may in the space of five
minutes, after which she must yield her
body to a new embrace.
FROM DREAMS TO WAKING. 25
But did you not notice a faint smile
upon the lips of her late companion as
he turned and left her? a smile of tri-
umph, an air of sated appetite, it seemed
to me; and see, as he joins his cronies
yonder he laughs, rubs his hands
together, chuckles visibly, and commu-
nicates some choice scrap of news which
makes them look over at our jaded
beauty and laugh too; they appreciate
the suggestion of the ancient :
**Tenta modo tangere corpus,
Jam tua mclliHuo membra calore fluent.*'
But she can keep her secret better
than they, it is evident.
And now^tell me, friend of mine, did
you not recognize an old acquaintance in
the lady we have been watching so
closely ? No ! Then believe me she is
no other than the "pure and lovely girl"
you so much admired earlier in the even-
ing, the so desirable wife, the angel who
was to "haunt your dreams."
26 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
"What ! that harlot-
Hush — a spade is not called a spade
here ; but I assure you again that the
sensuous, delirious Bacchante whose
semi-nakedness was so apparent as she
lay swooning in the arms of her param —
partner just now, was one and the same
with the chaste and calm Diana — virgo
virginissima — whose modest mien con-
cealed her nudity so well. Moreover
the satyr who was her accomplice — I
can find no better word — the coward
who pastured upon her and then boasted
of his lechery, was the Apollo who
first saluted her ; the little promise which
she gave so gracefully, and which he
recorded so eagerly, was a deliberate
surrender of her body to his use and
their mutual enjoyment. Furthermore,
the old man who, filled with wine, sits
asleep before the fire in the card-room,
dreaming he holds thirteen trumps in
his hand, is the proud father of our fair
LE JEU EST FAIT. 2/
friend. Unselfish old man ! he, like
you, knows no dances but reels and
minuets. "Why should not the dear
girl enjoy herself ?" he says ; besides, if
he grows tired he can go ; Apollo will
be glad to see her home. Apollo being
rich, the old gentleman has no objection
to see him chasing his Daphne; Cupio,
Cupid, Cupidity — the Latin always
knows what it is about.
But, hark! The music begins again.
Le jeu est fait, faites votre jeu messieurs!
Gentlemen croupiers, prepare to rake in
lost souls ! All stakes are yours that
come within your reach.
With energies, recuperated by stimu-
lating refreshments^ matron and maiden
rise to the proffered embrace ; with lusty
vigor the Bulls of Bashan paw their
fresh pastures. This is the last dance,
and a furious one.
'< Now round the room the circling dow'gers sweep,
Now in loose waltz the thin-clad daughters leap;
The first in lengthened line majestic swim,
The last display the free, unfettered limb.**
28 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
The Saturnalia will soon be ended.
One more picture before we go.
What right has that face over there
to intrude amid this scene of wild
festivity ? That dark and scowling face,
filled with hate, and jealousy, and stifled
rage. See how its owner prowls rest-
lessly about; continually changing his
position, but ever keeping his watchful
eyes upon that voluptuous woman who,
surrendering her soul to the lascivious
pleasing of opportunity, is reeling, glid-
ing, and yielding in the clutch of her
partner — her drunken catholicity of de-
sire, her long libidinous reaches of im-
agination, the glib and facile assent of
her emotions, figured in every move-
ment, and visible to every eye.
This was the manner in which Bacch-
us and Ariadne danced, which so moved
the spectators that, as the old writer tells
us, " they that were unmarried swore they
would forthwith marry, and those that
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. 29
were married called instantly for their
horses and galloped home to their wives."
That miserable, self-despised, desper-
ate wretch is the exultant husband
whom we noticed on his arrival; it is
natural that he should take some interest
in the lady, — she is the wife he was ex-
ulting over. No wonder that there is a
dangerous look in his eye as he takes in
the situation ; the gallant who is dancing
with his wife may sup with Polonius
yet — late, or rather early, as it is, for
"murder's as near to lust as flame to
smoke." No wonder there is a hang-
dog expression in his face as his friends
clap him on the back and applaud the
lady's performance — ask him how he
is enjoying the evening, and so forth.
But the climax is reached when the
sated Lothario restores the partner
of his joys to her lawful lord, with the
remark that "your wife, sir, dances most
divinely ;" then the poor fool must screw
30 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
up a sickly smile and say "thank you,
sir," knowing all the while in his heart
of hearts that the man before him has
just now most surely made him cuckold
under, his very nose. Poor fool! Will
he never learn to appreciate the utter
vileness of his situation ? Will he always
be persuaded next morning that he must
have been excited by the champagne —
that his jealousy was the acme of all un-
reason ? Or will he, as many have done,
pop out some fine day a full-fledged dancer
himself, and compromise matters with his
wife by making the degradation mutual ?
But while we ponder these things the
melody has ceased ; the weary musicians
have departed. There is a rush for
cloaks and hoods, and rather more ad-
justing of the same upon feminine forms
by bold masculine hands than is perhaps
necessary for their proper arrangement.
Shift the scenery for the last act of
this delectable drama !
THE DROP SCENE. 3 1
The gentlemen will escort the ladies
to their homes! Apollo will still pur-
sue the nimble Daphne, Pan will not yet
relinquish his hot pursuit of the fleet-
footed Syrinx ; and verily on this occasion
their reward shall be greater than reeds
and laurels. Forward, then, to the wait-
Ah, how grateful to the gas-scorched
eyeballs is the thick gloom of the
coach — how pleasant to the weary limbs
are these luxurious cushions!
There! close the door softly ; up with
the windows — down with the curtains!
Driver, go slowly, as I heard you
ordered to do just now, and you shall
not want for future patronage. And
you, young man within, strike while the
iron is hot. In your comrade every
mental sense is stupified, every carnal
sense is roused. It is the old, old story:
*' Nox, vinum et adolescentia.'' The
32 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
opportunity is golden. Society is very
good to you,young man!
Come, my friend, let us go. The
play is played out, and so are the play-
ers. The final tableau does not take
place upon the stage. We read that
under one of the Roman Emperors the
pantomimic dance was not unfrequently
ended by the putting to death by torture
upon the stage of some condemned
criminal, in order that the spectators
might gaze upon death in all its horrible
reality. God forbid that any such ghastly
finale should take place behind the scenes
now that our pantomime is finished !
But at all events there is no more to
see; and lest your imagination spoil your
rest let me divert your attention to the
speck of dawn over there in the east.
At this hour, says the poet,
" When late larks give warning
Of dying lights and dawning,
Night murmurs to the morning,
«Lic still, O love, lie still j'
And icrvcnc lipi tlut chitl."
But, mind you, in these lines the poet
does not even remotely refer to the
occupants of the carriage.
mxir ii the
le of wh
i. vi UT," says the worthy reader
I who has honored me by pe-
I rusing the preceding Chapter,
y "what manner of disgusting
revel is this that you have shown us ?
Have we been present at a reproduction
of the rites of Dionysus and Astarte ?
Have we held high revel in the halls of
a modem Faustina or Messalina? Have
we supped with Catherine of Russia ?
Or have we been under the influence of
a restored Lampsacene ?
IS NOT SAUCE FOR THE GANDER. 35
Don't delude yourself, my unsophis-
ticated friend, you have simply been
present at a " social hop " at the house
of the Hon. Ducat Fitzbullion — a most
estimable and " solid " citizen, a deacon
of the church, where his family regularly
attend, a great promoter of charities,
Magdalen Asylufns, and the like, and
President of the " Society for the Sup-
pression of Immorality among the Hot-
tentots." The fair women whom you
have somewhat naturally mistaken for
prHresses de la Vagabonde VdntiSy are
the pure daughters and spotless wives
of our "best citizens;" their male
companions, or accomplices, or whatever
you choose to call them, are the crhne
de la crSme of all that is respectable
and eligible in society ; and, finally, the
dance which you have pronounced out-
rageously indecent, is simply the Divine
Waltz, in its various shapes of " Dip,"
'Glide," "Saratoga," "German." and
36 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
what not — ^the King of Dances "with all
the modern improvements."
And this, my dear reader, is the abom-
ination that I intend to smite hip and
thigh — not with fine words and dainty-
phrases, but with the homely language
of truth ; not blinded by prejudice or
passion, but calmly and reasonably ; not
with any private purpose to subserve,
but simply in the cause of common de-
cency ; not with the hope of working out
any great moral reform, but having the
sense of duty strong upon me as I stick
my nibbed lancet into the most hideous
social ulcer that has as yet afflicted the
That the subject is a delicate one is
best shown by the fact that even Byron
found himself reduced to the necessity
of " Putting out the light " and invok-
ing the longest garments to cover that
which he was unable to describe — hear
TOLERATED, YET INTOLERABLE. 2>7
^ Waltz — Waltz alone — both legs and arms demands ;
Liberal of feet, and lavish of her hands;
* Hands which may freely range in public sight
Where ne*er before — but — pray " put out the light*
*' But here the muse with due decorum halts —
And lends her longest petticoats- to Waltz."
It should not, then, be a matter of sur-
prise, when one so gifted in the use of
his mother tongue and writing in a far less
prudish age, failed to describe the " vol-
uptuous Waltz" without shocking his
readers, — if I, sixty-three years later,
wath so much more to describe and such
limited capacity, do not succeed in ren-
dering the subject less repulsive.
Many will urge that a practice in-
dulged in by the " best people " of every
country — seemingly tolerated by all —
cannot be so violently assailed without
some motive other than a disinterested
desire to advocate a correct principle —
but such are reminded that much more
than one-half the male adult population
38 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
of every American city are addicted to
the use of tobacco. Is its baneful effect
upon the nerves of man any the less
severe on this account ? So in the case
of alcoholic beverages, is it open to de-
bate that the great mass of our popula-
tion are constantly consuming this •* wet
damnation " ? And is it not known to all
that it is the direct source of desolation to
hearth and home, the destroyer of happi-
ness and character, — that this has bro-
ken more hearts, filled more dishonored
graves than any other of man s follies ?
Does, I say, the fact of its universality
render its destroying influence less po-
tent ? I think not. Neither do I believe
the fact of society permitting itself to be
carried by storm into the toleration of
the "modern" dance, obliterates the fear-
ful vortex into which its members are
drawn, or compensates for the irreparable
loss it suffers in the degradation of its
chief ornament — woman.
DELICATE, BECAUSE INDELICATE. 39
And here is one great diifficulty in
my self-imposed task, for to lovely and
pure woman must I partly address my-
self. Yet even a partial reference to
the various considerations involved, en-
tails the presenting "of topics not gener-
ally admitted into refined conversation.
But in order to do any justice at all
to the subject, we must not only con-
sider the dance itself, but we must follow
it to its conclusion. We must look at
its direct results. We must hold it re-
sponsible for the vice it encourages, the
lasciviousness of which it so largely par-
takes. And in presenting this subject,
I shall steadfastly ignore that line cf
argument based upon the assumption
that because " it is general," It must be
proper. Says Rochester : —
" Custom does often reason overrule,
And only serves for reason to the fool/*
And Crabbe : —
" Habit with him was all the test of truth :
It must be right — I've done it from my youth.'*
40 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
No, neither the use of tobacco, the in-
dulgence in alcoholic beverages, nor the
familiar posturing of the *' Glide" can be
justified or defended by proving that
they are common to all classes of society.
I repeat that th^ scene I have at-
tempted to describe in the foregoing
chapter is no creation of a prurient imagi-
nation — ^would to God that it were — ^but
is a scene that is enacted at every social
entertainment whiph in these days' is
regarded by the class for whose benefit
this work is written as worth the trouble
of attending. I repeat that the female
portion of the "class" referred to is
not composed of what are commonly
known as prostitutes, whatever the un-
initiated spectator at their orgies may
imagine, but of matrons who are held
spotless, and of maidens who are counted
pure — not only by the world in general,
but by those husbands, fathers, and
brothers, whose eyes should surely be
THE FRUIT OF CULTURE. 4I
the first to detect any taint upon the
character of wife, daughter, or sister.
And I repeat, moreover, that the social
status of these people is not that of the
rude peasant whose lewd pranks are
the result of his ignorance, but that of
the most highly cultivated and refined
among us. These are the people who
are expected to, and do, lead the world
in all that is elegant and desirable; and
the Waltz, forsooth, is one of their arts
— one of the choice products of their
ultra-civilization — brought to perfection
by the grace with which God has gifted
them above common folk, adorned by
their wealth, and enjoyed by their high-
strung sensibilities. The boor could not
dance as they do though he were willing
to give his immortal soul to possess the
accomplishment, for the waltz, in its
perfection, is a pleasure reserved for the
Said one to me, stooping forward in
42 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
the most confidential way '* Do you see
that young lady to the left ? How exqui-
sitely the closely drawn silk discloses
her wasp-like form ! and those motions
— could anything be more suggestive ?
Every movement of her body is a per-
fect reproduction of Hogarth's line of
beauty. Look man! Remove just a
little drapery and there is nothing left
to desire — is'nt it wonderful ? But then,"
added he, "it is a perfect outrage never-
Not so, I answered. Can aught be
said against her reputation ? no ! — a
thousand times no — and as for her dress,
is it not the perfection of what all others
in the room are but a crude attempt
to acccomplish ? Does it not disclose a
form intrinsically beautiful, and admit pf
a grace and ** poetry of motion" quite
unknown to those encumbered with
petticoats ? Yes, look at her backward
and forward movements — see how she
AN APT PUPIL. 43
entwines her lithe limbs with those of
her enraptured partner as they oscillate,
advance, recede, and rotate, as though
they were "spitted on the same bodkin."
" Thus front to front the partners move or stand,
The foot may rest, but none withdraw the hand."
This, sir, is but one of the many improve-
ments on the waltz.
And pray, sir, are not this lady to tne
right and that one in the center, vainly
endeavoring to achieve the same feat }
The only difference is that this lady is
better dressed, more ably taught than
either; is she to be censured because
she has the talent and industry to do
well, that which they have neither the
courage, energy, nor ability to perform ?
Can it be that in this instance alone,
a want of proficiency is a redeeming fea-
** Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness
through the lust of their own hearts, to dishonor their
own bodies between themselves.**
— Epistle to the Romans.
LREADY I see the face of the
reader grow red with indigna-
tion. "This is a calumniator,
an infamous detractor, an envi-
pessimist, a hater of all that is
innocently enjoyable!" cries he or she.
Very well — I bow my acknowledge-
ments for the compliment. I have
already stated in my preface that I did
not expect you to say anything else. I
could be well content to tell what I
know and let you say your say in peace,
AN "INNOCENT AMUSEMENT." 45
but I will nevertheless go somewhat out
of my way to answer your principal
In the first place, there are certainly
many who will deny my charges in
tota — who will declare that the waltz is
very moral and healthful, and entirely
innocent and harmless, and that he who
puts it in any other light is a knave and a
vile slanderer. These of my opponents
I may divide into two classes: First, those
who know nothing of the matter, who
have never danced, have scarcely ever
seen a modern waltz, and are conse-
quently unwilling to believe that such
terrible things could be going on in
their very midst without their knowl-
edge ; and, secondly, those who do know
and practice the abomination, and find
"the fruit of the tree of knowledge" far
too sweet to be hedged about as ** for-
To the first of these classes I have
46 THE DANCE OF DEATH
little to say; it is composed mainly of
"old fogies," the diversions of whose
youth were innocent, and who can see
no evil that does not sprawl in all its
ugliness over the face of the community.
If a courtesan accosted one of them on
the street, they would be unutterably
shocked, and so they certainly would if
they on a sudden found themselves ex;;-
periencing the '^perfect waltz," though
even then it is doubtful if they would
not' be shocked into dumbness and
grieved into inaction. But of the vailed
and subtle pleasures of the waltz they
are profoundly ignorant — why should
they not be ? They see no harm in it
because they don't see it at all ; they are
optimists through ignorance, and lift
palms of deprecation at the mention of
vice which they cannot understand
or attain to. To these I say: open
your eyes and look about you, even at
the risk of seeing things not exactly
THE IDOL DEFENDED. 47
as you fancied them to be; or, if you
will remain obstinately blind, then pray
do not deny that evil exists where you
do not happen to see it with your eyes
shut. I have painted the picture, you
can compare it with the reality at your
To the second class that I have men-
tioned, namely, those who know and
deny what they know, a far stronger
condemnation is to be applied. It is
composed of the dancers ^'* par excelletice,
both male and female — who have tasted
of the unholy pleasures of the waltz
until it has become the very sap of their
lives. These are the blushing rakes and
ogling prydes who will be most bitter in
their denunciation of this book and it^
author; and no wonder — I only oppose
the prejudices of the others, but I con-
* I have stated several times, and I now do so far the last
time, that by *' dancers " I mean loalt^cn, I hope that my
meaning will not be ^wilfully misconstrued.
48 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
tend with the passions of these. These
it is who are forever prating of the
beauties and virtues of the waltz. It is
an "innocent recreation," a ** healthful
exercise," it is the "mother of grace" and
the "poetry of motion;" no eulogy can
be too extravagant for them to bestow
upon their idol. They see no harm in it,
not they, and for those who dare hint at
such a thing, they have ever ready at
their tongue s end that most convenient
and abused of legends: Honi soil qui
ntal y pense. They will catch at any
straw to defend their pet amusement.
They will tell you that The Preacher says
"there is a time to dance," without stop-
ping to inquire why that ancient cynic
put the words "there is a time to
mourn" in such close proximity. They
will inform you that Plato, in his Com-
monwealth, will have dancing-schools to
be maintained, "that young folks may
meet, be acquainted, see one another,
THE WORSHIP DESCRIBED. 49
and be seen," but they forget to mention
that he will also have them dance naked,
or to quote the comments of Eusebius
and Theodoret upon Plato's plan. They
think the secret of their great respect
for the waltz is possessed only by them-
selves, and hug the belief that by them
that secret shall never be divulged.
Bah! They must dance with the gas
out if there is to be any secrecy in the
Innocent and healthful recreation for-
sooth! The grotesque abominations of
the old Phallic worship had^ a basis of
clean and wholesome truth, but as the
obscene rites of that worship desecrated
the principle that inspired them, so do
the pranks of the "divine waltz" libel
the impulse that stirs its wriggling devo-
tees. The fire that riots in their veins
and the motive that actuates their
haunches is an honest flame and a
decent energy when honestly and de-
50 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
cently invoked, but if blood and muscle
would be pleased to indulge their impo-
tent raptures m private, the warmer
virtues would not be subjected to open
caricature, nor the colder to downright
What do I mean by such insinuations ?
Nay, then, gentle reader, I will not
insinuate, but will boldly state that with
the class with which I am now dealing —
the dancers par excellence^ the modern
waltz is not merely " suggestive," as its
opponents have hitherto charitably
styled it, but an open and shameless
gratification of sexual desire and a cooler
of burning lust To lookers-on it is
"suggestive" enough. Heaven knows,
but to the dancers — that is to say, to the
"perfect dancers"^ — it is an actual realiza-
tion of a certain physical ecstacy which
should at least, be indulged in private
and no pure person should experience
save under the sanction of matrimony.
THE GREAT SECRET. 5 1
And this is the secret to which I have
alluded. It cannot even be claimed ^&
private property any longer,
" For shame!" cries the horrified (and
non-waltzing) reader; '*how can you
make such dreadfully false assertions!
And who are these 'perfect dancers'
you talk so much about .^ And how
came you to know their ' secret ' as you
terni it ? Surely no woman of even
nominal decency would make such a
horrible confession, and yet the most
immaculate women waltz, and v/altz di-
By your leave, I will answer these
questions one at a time. Who are these
** perfect waltzers?*' Of the male sex
there are several types, of which I need
only mention two.
The first is your lively and handsome
young man — a Hercules in brawn and
muscle — ^who exults in his strength and
glories in his manhood. Dancing comes
52 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
naturally to him, as does everything else
that requires grace and skill. He is a
ruthless hunter to whom all game is fair
The gods have made him beautiful and
strong, and the other sex recognize and
appreciate the fact. Is it to be expected
of Alcibiades that he scorn the Athenian
lasses, or of Phaon the Fair that he avoid
the damsels of Mytelene.'^ No indeed!
it is for the husband and father to take
care of the women — /le can take care of
himself. Yet even this gay social pirate
and his like might take a hint from the
** But )e — who never felt a single thought
For what our morals are co be, or ought ;
Who wisciy wish the charms you view to reap,
Say — ^would you make those beauties quite so cheap?**
But this fine animal is by no means
the most common or degraded type of
ball-room humanity. It would be per«
haps better it he were. In his mighty
embrace a woman would at least have
the satisfaction of knowing that she was
A FAMILIAR TYPE. 53
dancing with a wholesome creature,
however destitute he might be of the
finer feelings that go to make up what
is called a man.
No, the most common type of the
male "perfect dancer" is of a different
stamp. This is the blockhead who
covers his brains with his boots — to
whom dancing is the one serious
practical employment of life, and who,
it must be confessed, is most diligent
and painstaking in his profession. He
is chastity's paramour — strong and lusty
in the presence of the unattainable, fee-
ble-kneed and trembling in the glance
of invitation ; in pursuit a god, in pos-
session an incapable — satyr of dalliance,
eunuch of opportunity. This creature
dances divinely. He has given his
mind to dancing, has never got it back,
and is the richer for that. He haunts
"hops" and balls because his ailing
virility finds a feast in the paps and
54 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
gruels of love there dispensed. It is
he to whose contaminating embrace
your wi — I mean your neighbor's wife
or daughter, dear reader, is oftenest sur-
rendered, to whet his dulled appetite for
strong meats of the bagnio — nay to
coach him for offences that must be
nameless here. She performs her func-
tion thoroughly, conscientiously, wholly
— merges her idetitity in his, and lo!
the Beast with two Backs !
A pretty picture is it not } — the Grand
Passion Preservative dragged into the
blaze of gas to suffer pious indignities at
the hand of worshippers who worship
not wisely, but too well ! The true
Phallos set up at a cross-roads to re-
ceive the homage of strolling dogs —
male and female created he them ! Bah !
these orgies are the spawn of unman-
nerly morals. They profane our civili-
zation, and are an indecent assault upon
common sense. It is nearly as common
"CjEsars wife, etc. 55
as the dance itself, to hear the male
participants give free expresssion, loose
tongued, to the lewd emotions, the sen-
sual pleasure, in which they indulge when
locked in the embrace of your wives and
daughters ; if this be true, if by any pos-
sibility it can be true, tha^ a lady how-
ever innocent in thought is exposed to
lecherous comments of this description!
then is it not also true tnat every woman
possessing a remnant of delicacy, will
flee from the dancing-hall as from a
" What 1 the girl that ] love by anocher embiaceil I
Another man's arm round ni|r choieo one'a wjuitl
Whit I touched in the twirl by another man'i l[n« ;
Sir, she '< )--uts; you havebtuihed from the grape irttoft blue.
From the rose you have shaken the delicate dew ; .
What you've touched you may take — pretty Waltier, adjni 1"
ri ET us now consider the female
^ element in this immodesty.
3 Is the woman equally to blame
jj with the man? ' Is she the un-
conscious instrument of his lust, or the
conscious sharer in it ? We shall sec.
In the first place, it is absolutely nec-
essary that she shall be able and will-
ing to reciprocate the feelings of her
partner before she can graduate as a
EXPERTS AND AMATEURS. 5/
"divine dancer." Until she can and
will do this she is regarded as a **scrub"
by the male experts, and no matter what
her own opinion of her proficiency may
be she will surely not be sought as a
companion in that pidce de resistance
of the ball-room the "after — supper
Horrible as this statement seems, it is
the truth and nothing but the truth, and
though I could affirm it upon oath from
what I have myseli heard and seen, I
fortunately am able to confirm it by the
words of a highly respected minister of
the gospel — Mr, W. C. Wilkinson, who
some years ago published in book form
an article on "The Dance of Modern
Society," which originally appeared in
one of our American Quarterly Reviews.
This gentleman gives a remark over-
heard on a railway car, in a conversation
that was passing between two young
men about their lady acquaintances.
58 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
"The horrible concreteness ot the fel-
low's expression," says Mr Wilkinson,
" may give a wholesome recoil from
danger to some minds that would be
little affected by a speculative statement
of the same idea. Said one : I would
not give a straw to dance with Miss
; you can't excite any more
passion in her than you can in a stick of
wood." Can anything be plainer than
" Pure young women of a warmer
temperament," the same reverend author
subsequently adds, "who innocently
abandon themselves to enthusiastic proc-
lamations of their delight in the dance in
the presence of gentlemen, should but
barely once have a male intuition of the
meaning of the involuntary glance that
will often shoot across from eye to eye
among their auditors. Or should over-
hear the comments exchanged among
them afterwards. For when young men
A BALL-ROOM REMINISCENCE. 59
meet after an evening of the dance to
talk it over together, it is not points of
dress they discuss. Their only demand
(in this particular) and it is generally
conceded, is that the ladies' dress shall
not needlessly embarrass suggestion."
But here is one of my own experiences
in this connection. At a fashionable
sociable, I was approached by a friend
who had been excelling himself in Terp-
sichorean feats during the whole evening.
This friends was a very handsome man,
a magnificent dancer, and of course a
great favorite with the ladies. I had
been watching him while he waltzed
with a young and beautiful lady, also of
my acquaintance, and had been filled
with wonder at the way he had foldled
her in his arms — literally fondling her
upon his breast, and blending her deli-
cate melting form into his ample embrace
in a manner that was marvellous to be-
6o THE DANCE OF DEATH.
hold. They had whirled and writhed
in a corner for fully ten minutes — the
fury of lust in his eyes, the languor of
lust in hers — until gradually she seemed
to lose her senses entirely, and must
have slipped down upon the floor when
he finally released her from his embrace
had it not been for the support of his arm
and shoulder. Now as he came up to
me all flushed and triumphant I remarked
to him that he evidently enjoyed this
thing very much.
"Of course I do," he answered.
" Why not r
** But I should think," said I, not wish-
ing to let him see that I knew anything
about the matter from experience, " that
your passions would become unduly ex-
cited by such extremely close contact
with the other sex."
"Excited!" he replied, "of course they
do; but not unduly — ^what else do you
suppose I come here for.*^ And don't
HOW TO DO IT. 61
you know, old fellow/' he added in a
burst of confidence, ** that this waltzing
is the grandest thing in the world.
While you are whirling one of those
charmers — if you do it properly, mind
you — you can whisper in her ear things
which she would not listen to at any
other time. Ah! but she likes it then,
and comes closer jitill, and in response
to the pressure of her hand, your arm
tightens about her waist, and then" — but
here he grew very eloquent at the bare
remembrance, and the morals of the
printer must be respected.
" But," said I, "I should be afraid to
take such liberties with a . respectable
" O," he answered, "thats nothing —
they like it; but, as I said before, you
must know how to do it; there must be
no blundering; they wont stand that.
The best place to learn to do the thing
correctly is in one of those dance -cellars ;
62 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
there you can take right hold of them.
The girls there are " posted," you know;
and they'll soon "post" you. Let every-
thing go loose. You will soon fall into
the step. All else comes natural. I go
round amongst them all. Come with me
a few nights, 1 11 soon make a waltzer of
you — you will see what there is in it."
He still rests under the promise to "show
me round '^ in the intierests of the diffu-
sion of useful knowledge; and if he does
not trace the authorship of this book to
me, and take offence thereat, I will go at
some future time. It must indeed be
"jolly," as he called it, to possess such
consumate skill in an art which makes the
wives and daughters of our "best people"
the willing instruments of his lechery.
Oh yes — I musi /earn. This is a su-
preme accomplishment I cannot afford
to be without. It has been said that
out of evil comes good, and assuredly
"this is an evil born with all its teeth."
TRAIN UP A CHILD, ' ETC 63
"Ah, yes," continued my enthusiastic
friend, "it isn't the whirling that makes
the waltz, and those who think it is are
the poorest dancers. A little judi-
cious handling will make a sylph out of
the veriest gawk of a girl that ever
attempted the "light fantastic;" and
once manage to initiate one of those
stay-at-home young ladies, and FU war-
rant you she 11 be on hand at every ball
she is invited to for the rest of that
season I'll wager, sir, that there isn't a
"scrub" in this room who Just knows
the step but what I can make a dancer
of her in fifteen minutes — the dear
creatures take to it naturally when
they are properly taught. But don't
forget to come with me to the 'dives
one of these evenings and I'll show you
what there is in it." And this was the
estimation in which this man held the
ladies of his acquaintance: this is the
kind of satyr to the quenching of whose
64 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
filthy lusts we are to furnisn our wives
and daughters; this is the manner of
Minotaur who must be fed upon comely
virgins — may he recognize a Theseus in
And yet, dear reader, do not imagine
that this man was a social ogre of un-
usual monstrosity No, indeed, he was,
and is, a "very nice young man;" he is,
in fact, commonly regarded as a model
young man. Nor must you imagine
that his partner had a single stain upon
her reputation. She is a young lady of
the highest respectability; she takes a
great interest in Sunday schools, is reg-
ular at the communion-table, makes flan-
nel waistcoats for the heathen, and is on
all sides allowed to be the greatest catch
of the season in the matrimonial market.
If she and the young man in question
meet in the street, a modest bow on her
part, and a respectful lifting of the hat
on his, are the only greetings inter-
A STRANGE ACQUAINTANCE. 65
changed — he may enjoy her body- in the
ball-room, but, you see, he is not well
enough acquainted with her to take her
hand on the street.
<* Where Uvo the man thu hith not tried
How minh cin Into fi)]ly glide.
And folly into tin ! "—Scott.
ri HE conversation I have given
I in the last chapter is faithfull)'
f leported — it is exact in spirit
iJ very nearly so in letter ; we may
surely believe that the clergyman from
whom I have quoted some pages back,
was honest in his statements, and I
think that there can be no man who
has mixed among his sex in the ball-
room and not heard similar remarks
made. All this is, it seems to me,
ample proof of the fact which I set
out to demonstrate, namely, that the
THE woman's part. 67
lechery of the waltz is not confined to
the males, but is consciously partici-
pated in by the females, and if further
evidence be needed, then, I say, take
the best of all— watch the dancers at
their sport — mark well the faces, the
contortions of body and limb, and be
convinced against your will. But even
over and beyond this, I shall now lay
before you a kind of testimony which
you will be surprised to find brought
to bear on the case.
Shortly after I had determined to
publish a protest against the abomina-
tions of the waltz, it became plainly
apparent to me that I must if possible
obtain the views on the subject of some
intelligent and well known lady, whose
opinion would be received with respect
by all the world. With this end in
view, I addressed one of the most emi-
nent and renowned women of America.
I could not fortell the result of such a
68 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
Step, I certainly did not expect it to be
what it is, I hardly dared to hope that
she would accede to my request in any
shape. But I knew that if she did
speak, it would be according to her
honest convictions, and I resolved in
that event to publish her statement
whatever it might be. This lady freely
and generously offered me the use of
her name, and as this would be of great
value to my undertaking, I had origi-
nally intended to print it; but upon
consideration I have concluded that it
would be a poor return for her kindness
and self-devotion, to subject her to the
fiery ordeal of criticism she would in
that case have to endure, and for this
reason, and this only, I withhold her
name for the present. But I do earn-
estly assure the reader that if ever the
words of a great and good woman de-
served respectful attention, it is these : —
'*You ask me to say what I think
A woman's, experience. 69
about 'round dances/ I am glad of the
opportunity to lay my opinion on that
subject before the world; though, in-
deed I scarcely know what I can write
which you have not probably already
written. I will, however, venture to lay
bare a young girls heart and mind by
^ giving you my own experience in the
days when I waltzed.
"In those times I cared little for
Polka or Varsovienne, and still less
for the old-fashioned 'Money Musk'
or 'Virginia Reel,' and wondered what
people could find to admire in those
'slow dances.' But in the soft float-
ing of the waltz I found a strange
pleasure, rather difficult to intelligibly
describe. The mere anticipation flut-
tered my pulse, and when my partner
approached to claim my promised hand
for the dance I felt my cheeks glow a
little sometimes, and I could not look
him in the eyes with the same frank
gaiety as heretofore.
JO THE DANCE OF DEATH.
"But the climax of my confusion
was reached when, folded in his warm
embrace, and giddy with the whirl,
a strange, sweet thrill would shake
me from head to foot, leaving me
weak and almost powerless and really
almost obliged to depend for support
upon the arm which encircled me. If
my partner failed from ignorance, lack
of skill, or innocence, to arouse these,
to me, most pleasurable sensations, I
did not dance with him the second
"I am speaking openly and frankly,
and when I say that I did not understand
what I felt, or what were the real and
greatest pleasures I derived from this so-
called dancing, I expect to be believed.
But if my cheeks grew red with uncom-
prehended pleasure then, they grow pale
with shame to-day when I think of it
all. It was the physical emotions en-
gendered by the magnetic contact of
SWEET GIRL GRADUATE." 7 1
Strong men that I was enamoured of —
not of the dance, nor even of the men
"Thus I became abnormally devel-
oped in my lowest nature. I grew
bolder, and from being able to return
shy glances at first, was soon able to
meet more daring ones, until the waltz
beQame . to me a.nd whomsoever danced
with me, one lingering, sweet, and purely
sensual pleasure, where heart beat against
heart, hand was held in hand, and eyes
looked burning words which lips dared
"All this while no one said to me:
you do wrong; so I dreamed of sweet
words whispered during the dance,
and often felt while alone a thrill of joy
indescribable yet overpowering when my
mind would turn from my studies to
remember a piece of temerity of unusual
grandeur on the part of one or another
of my cavaliers.
72 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
"Girls talk to each other. I was still
a school girl although mixing so much
with the world. We talked together.
We read romances that fed our romantic
passions on seasoned food, and none
but ourselves knew what subjects we
discussed. Had our parents heard us
they would have considered us on the
high road to ruin. '
"Yet we had been taught that it wals
right to^ dance; our parents did it, our
friends did, and we were permitted. I will
say also that all the girls with whom I
associated, with the exception of one, had
much the same experience in dancing;
felt the same strangely sweet emotions,
and felt that almost imperative necessity
for a closer communion than that which
eV6n the freedom of a waltz permits^
without knowing exactly why, or even
" Married now, with home and children
around me, I can at least thank God for
EXPERIENTIA DOCET. • 73
the experience which will assuredly be
the means of preventing my little daugh-
ters from indulging in any such danger-
ous pleasure. But, if a young girl, pure
and innocent in the beginning, can be
brought to feel what I have confessed to
have felt, what must be the experience
of a married woman ? She knows what
every glance of the eye, every bend of
the head, every close clasp means, and
knowing that reciprocates it and is led
by swifter steps and a surer path down
the dangerous, dishonorable road.
"I doubt if my experience will be of
much service, but it is the candid truth,
from a woman who, in the cause of all
the young girls who may be contaminat-
ed, desires to show just to what extent
a young mind may be defiled by the
injurious . effects of round dances. I
have not hesitated to lay bare what are
a young girls most secret thoughts, in
the hope that people will stop and con-
74 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
sider, at least before handing their Jillies
of purity over to the arms of any one
who may choose to blow the frosty
breath of dishonor on their petals."
And this is the experience of a woman
of unusual strength of character — one
whose intellect has gained her a world-
wide celebrity and earned for her the
respect and attention of multitudes
wherever the English language is spok-
en. What hope is there then for ordi-
nary women to escape from this mental
and physical contamination ? which
'• Turni~]f nothing du— at lean our hodl."
'< II fault bien dire que la danse est quasi le comble de tous
vices * * * * c'est le <ommenceinent d'unc ordure,
laquelle je ne veux declarer. Pour en parler rcndement, il m'est
advis que c^est une maniere de tout villaine et barbare * * *
A quoy servent tant de saults que font ces filles, soustenues des
compagnons par soubs les bras; a fin de regimber plus hault?
Quel plaisir prennent ces sauterelles a se tormenter ainsi et
demener la pluspart des miicts sans se souler ou lasser de la
daiMcr L. V1VE8.
ANY will say — have said — By-
ron wrote against the wakz
because a physical infirmity
prevented him from waltzing—
that ne is not a proper person to quote
as an example for others to follow. It
must be conceded that whatever his mo-
tive was, he we/l knew what he was
writing about, and whatever his practices
76 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
may have been in other respects, it is to
his credit that his sense of the proprie-
ties of life were not so blunted as to
render him blind to this cause of gross
But, unlike Byron, I have, as has
been stated before, practical experience^
and positive knowledge in the matter
whereof I speak, and am possessed of
the most convincing assurances that my
utterances will be received with joy by
thousands of husbands and fathers whose
views have been down-trodden — their
sentiments disregarded, and their notions
of morality held up to scorn because
they disapprove of this "innocent amuse*
It has also been before said that this
vice was "seemingly tolerated by all,"
but I am proud to say that the placard
posted about the streets announcing a
" Sunday School Festival — dancing
TO commence at nine o'clock/' does
DANCING AND CONFIRMATION. TJ
not reflect the sentiments of the entire
community; that in all the marts of
businiess, in every avenue of trade, in
counting-house and in work-shop, men
are to be found who would shrink with
horror from exposing their wives and
daughters to the allurements of the dance-
hall— men who form a striking contrast
to those simpering simpletons who sym-
pathize with their feelings, but have not
the courage to maintain the family honor
by enforcing their views in the domestic
It is only a few years since the Frank-
fort Journal announced that the author-
ities had decided, in the interest of good
morals, that in future dancing-masters
should not teach their art to children
who had not yet been confirmed. The
teaching of dancing in boarding-houses
and hotek was also forbidden. It is not
desirable that the law should 'interfere
with purely domestic affairs, but really it
78 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
seems as if those unfortunate parents and
husbands who shudder at the evil but
are awed into silence by ridicule or open
rebellion, stand in as urgent need of the
law s assistance as the Magdeburg god-
fathers and godmothers.
I well know that many young ladies
profess entire innocence of any impure
emotions during all this "palming work."
To them let me say: If you are so
sluggish in your sensibilities as this would
imply, then you are not yet fit subjects for
the endearments of married life, and can
give but poor promise of securing your
husband s affection. But if on the other
hand (as in most cases is true) you ex-
perience the true bliss of this intoxication,
then indeed will the ground of your
emotions be pretty well worked over
before you reach the hymeneal altar, and
the nuptial couch will have but little to
offer for your consideration with which
you are not already in some measure
DEMAND AND SUPPLY. 79
A friend at my elbow remarks. "I
agree with you perfectly, but my wife
likes these dances, — sees no harm in
them, and her concluding and unan-
swerable argument is, that if I danced
them, I should like them just as well as
she does." The truth of this latter
statement depends upon your moral
perceptions. There is but one answer
to the former, given by "Othello,"
** This is the curse of Marriage :
We call these delicate creatures ours —
But not their appetites."
If you are so lax in your attention —
so deficient in those qualities which go
to make a woman happy — that she seeks
the embrace of other men to supply the
more than half acknowledged need — if
this be true, my friend, I leave the mat-
ter with you — it belongs to another class
of subjects, treated of by Doctor Acton
of London — I refer you to his able
8o THE DANCE OF' DEATH.
Another says: Both my wife and I
enjoy these dances. We see no par-
ticular harm in them — "to the pure all
things are pure." The very same thing
may be said by the habitues of other
haunts of infamy —
*' Vice is a monster of so frightful mien.
As, to be hated, needs but to be seen ;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.**
There is, again, a very large class of
dancers who frankly allow that there is
immorality in the modern waltz, but in-
sist that this immorality need not be,
and by them is not, practised. They
dance — but very properly, you know.
These are the Pharisees who beat their
breasts in public places, crying fie! upon
their neighbors, and bravo! upon them-
Of course, they will tell you, there are
persons who are excited impurely by the
waltz, but these are persons who would
IDEAS OF PURITY. 8 1
be immoral under any circumstances.
" To the pure all things are pure.'' It
is astonishing how apt they are with
these tongue-worn aphorisms. To the
pure all things are pure, — yes, but purity
is only a relative virtue whose value is
fixed by the morai standard of the in-
dividual. What would be pure to some
would be grossly impure to others, and
when you place your wife or daughter
in the arms of such salacious gentry as
have been described in the foregoing
pages are you not pretty much in the
position of the gentleman who when
gravely informed by a guest who was
taking an unaccountably hasty leave
that his (the host's) wife had lewdly en-
treated him, replied : " But, my friend,
that is nothing ; your wife did as much
for me when I visited you last year."
This gentleman, remember, was also
ready to add : "to the pure all things
are pure." The Waltz should assuredly
82 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
have figured among the "pure impuri-
ties" of Petronius.
But even if it be allowed that a lady
can waltz virtuously, I have already
shown that in that case she must not
dance welL And what a pitiful specta-
cle, surely, is that of a lady trying "how
not to do it"— converting her natural
grace into clumsiness in order that she
ma^ do an indecent thing decently, and
*' Warm but not wanton ; dazzled, but not blind.**
But perhaps she cannot waltz. In that
case how long will it take her to learn ?
Will not one single dance lower her
standard of purity if her partner happens
to be one of the adepts I have de-
" But," cries the fair dancer " you
must remember that no lady wiir permit
herself to be introduced to, or accept as a
partner, any but a gentleman, who she is
sure will treat her with becoming respect.*'
GENTLEMANLY PARTNERS. 83
I will not stop to inquire what her
definition of a "gentleman" is — whether
the most courteous and urbane of men
may not be a most desperate rou6 at
heart The attitude and •contact are
the same in any case, and if it needs
must be that a husband is to see his
wife folded in the close embrace of
another man, is it any consolation for
him to know that her partner is eligible
as a rival in other respects than his nim-
ble feet — that he who is brushing the
bloom from his peach is at least his
equal? Can you stop to consider the
intellectual Accomplishments and social
status of the man who has invaded the
sacred domain of your wife's chamber ?
No — equally unimportant is it to you,
who or what he may be — that has thus
exercised a privilege reserved by all
pure-minded women for their husbands
But in this matter of the selection of
;84 THE - DANCE OF DEATH.
the fittest the ladies have set up a man
of straw, which I must - proceed to
demolish. In order that the lawless
contact may be impartially distributed,
and that no* lady may be free to choose
whose sexual magnetism she shall ab-
sorb, we have imported from across the
water a foreign variety of the abomina-
tion, by which ingenious contrivance the
color of the ribbon a lady chances to
hold determines who shall have the use
of her body in the waltz, and places her
in the pitiable predicament of the "poore
bryde" at ancient French weddings, who,
as we read in Christen, "State of Mat-
rimony," must "kepe foote with all dan-
cers, and refuse none, how scabbed, foule,
droncken, rude, and shameless soever he
Nor are even the square dances any
longer left as a refuge for the more
modest, for to such a pitch has the pas-
sion for this public sexual intimacy
THE WALTZ QUADRILLE. 85
come, that the waltz is now inseparably
wedded to the quadrille. Even the old
fogies are sometimes trapped by this
device. A quadrille is called and they
take their places feeling quite safe.
"First couple forward!" "Cross over!"
"Change partners!" "Waltz up and
down the centre!" "Change over!"
"All hands waltz round the outside!"
and before they know it their sedate
notions are lost in the "waltz quadrille."
It may be said that every arrangement
of the dance looks to an "equitable"
distribution of each lady's favors. It is
a recognized fact that a lady dancing
repeatedly with the same gentleman
shows a marked preference thereby —
and he is deemed rude and selfish who
attempts to monoplize his affianced, Or
shows reluctance in resigning her to the
arms of another.
ned all wivei to Daliliht,
WhoH hiubindi were nol lot the ciuec ;
And turned the men Co ten-hom'd canlc,
ficciiuc thcf went not out to battle."
n ONE time ago a lady friend said
; to me; "How is it that while
I so many of you gentlemen are
il fond of dancing until you are
married, yet from that moment few
of you can be induced to dance any
more. In fact it is a fraud perpetrated
upon young ladies; you fall in love with
them in the ball room, you court them
there, you marry them there, and they
naturally think you will continue to take
WIVES SUPPLANT WALTZES. 87
them there. But no — thenceforth they
must stay at home, or if you are induced
to go occasionally, you are as cross and
ill-natured about it as possible; as
though it was something dreadful. If
the dancing-hall is good enough to get
a wife in, is it not good enough to take
a wife to ? "
My dear lady, said I, you have stated
the case with a fairness not often met
with in an opponent. There can be no
stronger evidence (none other is re-
quired) to establish the sexualism of the
popular dance than that which you have
just cited. The privileges of matrimony
relieve the necessity for the dance. The
lover is compelled to share that which
the husband considers all his own.
Those who, while single, were most
deeply versed in the mysteries and
pleasures of the waltz are, when mar-
ried, the first to proclaim their abhor-
rence of it, too often, it is true, in a mild
and impotent protest, but not always.
88 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
Is the reader acquainted with Boye-
sen's novel called "Gunhar?" If so he
will remember that Ragnhild was to wed
Lars under the pressure of parental au-
thority. She preferred, however, the
valiatit, dancing Gunnar. "Ha! ha! ha!''
cried he, ''strike up a tune and that a
right lusty one!" The music struck up,
he swung upon his heel, caught the girl
who stood nearest him round the waist;
and whirled away with her. Suddenly
he stopped and gazed right into her face,
and who should it be but Ragnhild. She
begged and tried to release herself from
his arm, but he lifted her from the floor,
made another leap, and danced away, so
that the floor shook under them."
"Gunnar, Gunnar," whispered she,
"please, Gunnar, let me go" — he heard
nothing. "Gunnar," begged she again,
now already half surrendering, "only
think what mother would say if she
were here." But now she began to feel
IN THE TOILS. 89
the spell of the dance. The walls, the
roof, and the people began to whirl
round her in a strange, bewildering cir-
cle; at one moment the music seemed
to be winging its way to her from an
unfathomable depth in an inconceivable,
measureless distance, and in the next it
was roaring and booming in her ears
with the rush and din of an infinite cat-
aract of tone. Unconsciously her feet
moved, to its measure, her heart beat to
it, and she forgot her scruples, her fear,
and everything but him in the bliss of
Gunnar knew how to tread the spring-
ing dance, and no one would deny him
the rank of the first dancer in the
valley, so, it was a dance worth seeing,
and of the girls, there was scarcely one
who did not wish herself in the happy
Ragnhild's place" — (of course they did.)
After the music had ceased, it was some
time before Ragnhild fully recovered
90 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
her senses — (quite likely) ; she still
clung fast to Gunnar s arm, the floor
seemed to be heaving and sinking under
her — (quite common in such cases), and
the space was filled with a vague, dis-
tant hum." (Why not ?)
Later, the gleaming knife in the hands
of Lars, showed that he but too plainly
understood the nature of the perform-
ance in which his future wife had been
engaged. And the sequel well attests,
that his happiness did not increase with
his knowledge. Even the vigor of a
Norwegian climate was not sufficient to
cool his fury. What a promising field
for future operations must sunnier
climes present for such enterprising
Follow the subject a little further and
it will be seen that Ragnhild lost more
than her head in the bewildering whirl.
Now let me ask any father or mother
(or husband if you will), — any man pos-
WALTZING MATRONS. 9 1
sessing a grain of common sense, if
Ragnhild was in a safe condition to be
shown by Gunnar, to one of our com-
modious carriages and driven to her
home (perhaps miles away) at three
o'clock in the morning?
'* Lead us not into temptation."
Yet this is done — is permitted by very
many of our so-called "prudent parents"
and while they are crying out about
** social evils/' are doing all in their
power to furnish recruits for the great
army of the infamous.
** Deliver us from evil.**
There are two types of married ladies
who practise, and of course enjoy, the
waltz, and lest either might discover the
portrait of the other and take offence
that her own lovely face was not used to
adorn these pages, each shall have a
separate notice. They will probably
have already recognized portraits of
92 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
themselves in this volume, but the object
here is more particularly to distinguish
between the two.
The first of these we may safely call
semi-respectable — ^she is so partly from
necessity, partly from choice — from
choice because she regards it as the
** proper thing" that her husband should
dance attendance while she dances
something else, during the performance
of which, the poet tells us,
** The fair one's breast
Gives all it can and bids us take the rest."
She has not yet quite reached that
stage of shamelessness when she can ca-
rouse the entire night without some
lingering regard for what Mrs. Grundy
will say; besides this, she is not quite
sure of her position, and does not !:now
exactly how much her husband will
bear. She is afflicted with a bare sus-
picion that his docile nature might be
over taxed — that in the pigeon holes of
FREE AND INDEPENDENT. 93
his dull cranium might be found a desire
to make it rather lively if too openly
slighted. "Oh, no," she reasons, "take
him along— r his presence makes it all
right — his smile gives sanction to all
that may happen. When he is with me
who dare complain ?"
But the woman whom it would be my
joy to describe, whose perfections surpass
description, is moved by no such paltry
considerations. She glories in an inde-
pendence which scorns all such petty
restraints. She it is whose insight into
domestic politics descries the true posi-
tion, " to go with her husband is a bore"
— his very presence is a hindrance to a
full and free exercise of all the privileges
of the " Boston Dip." . She can find it
in her heart now to laugh at the ridicu-
lous vow she made when playing that
old-fashioned farce before the altar — ^the
vow to " leave all others and cleave to
him alone.'' How much pleasanter,
94 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
surely, to cleave and cling to all others,
and leave him alone. She may be
"too ill" to attend with her husband;
but let " Mr. Nimblefoot" — sprightly of
heel and addled of brain — come along,
with an invitation to attend a ball, and
in a trice she so far recovers her declin-
ing health as to make such an elaborate
*' Not Cleopatra on her galley*! deck.
Displays so much of leg, or more of neck.**
Then it is, when with a disregard for
neighborly comments which would do
credit to a better cause, we see her in all
her naked loveliness. No vulgar re-
straint upon her movements, no "green-
eyed monster" to inquire into her
absence or take note of her doings.
None to say
"Methinkf the glare 6fy9Pi(ksr ch^iMcIier
Shines much too hx — or I am much too near.'*
But a more detailed account of this
lady and of " how it all came about," is
TRUK HEROINES, 95
it not written in the chronicles of the
Courts having " original jurisdiction " in
cases of divorce ?
Who, then, after reviewing this ghastly
procession of moral lepers, shall find
words wherewith to express his reverence
and admiration for those pure-minded
girls and women who refuse to dance —
on principle! No renowned hero of
ancient or modern times has a better
right to claim the bays than the woman
who, seeing the degradation of the mod-
ern dance, has the independence and
moral courage to avoid it. Her heroism
is greater than you might suppose, for
she is sorely tempted to do wrong on
the one hand, and severely punished for
doing right on the other. Tempted —
because she is as fair and graceful as her
less modest sisters, and naturally as fond
oi man s admiration, and as sensible oi
physical pleasure as they; punished — by
the sneers of women who call her "prude"
96 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
and " wall-flower," and by the slights put
upon her by men who avoid her because
she "doesn't dance." In spite of the
example set by those whom she has
perhaps been taught to regard as wiser
and better than herself, she yet resists
the fascination of the Social Basilisk
from pure pride of womanhood, and
sacrifices her inclinations upon the altar
These are the wives and daughters
who do honor to their families. Their
reward is the respect and admiration of
all honorable men.
" My child," said a friend of mine to
his daughter who had declined to attend
a " sociable " on the ground that dancing
was improper, " my child, I honor your
judgment, and let me give you a father s
advice : never allow a man*s arm to en-
circle your waist till you are married,
and then only your husband s'' And
this advice I re-echo to all young ladies.
** lUic Hippolitum pone, Priapus erit.**
** Le Proverbe qui a couni a Tegard des Cloitres, dangereux
comme le retour de matinesy en pouvoit produire un autre avec un
petit changement, dangereux comme le retour du hal,**
HERE are, of course, many
other classes of waltzers to
whom I might revert, though
I have sought in vain for a
single one that is entirely free from re-
proach. It is however time that the
evil should be viewed from other points.
Let us consider some of its results and
I have repeatedly declared, and I
now do so again that the waltz has
98 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
grown to be a purely sexual enjoy<netit.
That I may not be supposed to stand
alone in this assertion I will again quote
the words of the worthy clergyman
before referred to. He writes :
The dance " consists substantially of a
system of means contrived with more
than human ingenuity to excite the in-
stincts of sex to action, however subtile
and disguised at the moment, in its se-
quel the most bestial and degrading."
And again: *'it is a usage that regularly
titillates and tantalises an animal appe-
tite as insatiable as hunger, more cruel
Gail Hamilton, to whose words most
of us will attach some weight, I think,
in a contribution to an Eastern journal,
says: "The thing in its very nature is
unclean and cannot be washed. The
very pose of the parties suggests
impurity." But I must go further than
this, and assert that the pose and motions
**TO THE PURE," ETC. 99
of the parties cannot even be spoken of
by a young lady without danger of com-
mitting a double entendre at which many
a " nice young man " will laugh in his
I will illustrate this statement: A
charming young lady, just arrived from
abroad, informed me that we do not
execute these new round dances "quite
right" in this country. She describes it
as having "two forward and two back-
ward movements, then sideways, with a
whirl." But she will "show me how to
do it on the first opportunity."
"That must, indeed, be nicer than the
way we do it," said I, "though I have
heard of a similar dance in the Sand-
wich Islands." Yea, verily, "to the pure
all things are pure."
What ssiys St. Aldegonde in a letter
written as long ago as 1577 to Caspar
Verheiden ? He says that he approves
of the course adopted by the Church of
IPO THE DANCE OF DEATH.
Geneva, which by interdicting the dance
has abolished many filthy abuses of daily
occurrence; it being the custom of the
men to take young girls to balls at night
and there to vex them by lewd postur-
ing. No one, he contends, can look on
at such a spectacle without sin; what
then shall we say of those who take part
in it. Much more he adds, and when I
say that I dare not translate it here, the
reader will be ready to believe that the
worthy Saint is pretty plain-spoken in
his strictures on th^ dance. But he is no
more so than is Lambert Dane^u in his
" Trait6 des Danses," the perusal of
which might do some modern dancers
good. And yet both these old writers
only saw the play of Hamlet with Ham-
let left out, for the Waltz did not ^xist in
Now, this being the case, what are we
to suppose are its effects upon those
who indulge in it ? Does the scandal
WHAT FOLLOWS ? lOI
end in the ball room, or, as Byron says»
may we not marvel
*' If nothing fbllowi all this palming work.**
and do we not feel ourselves constrained
to believe his assurance that
** Something does follow at a fitter time.**
That the waltz has been the acknowl*
edged avenue to destruction for great
multitudes, is a truth burnt into the
hearts of thousands of downcast fathers
and broken-hearted mothers; and the
husbands are legion who can look upon
hearths deserted and homes left desolate
by wives and daughters who have been
led captive by this magnificent burst of
harmony and laying-on of hands.
One of our ablest writers says : " it is
a war on home, it is a war on physical
health, it is a war on man's moral nature;
this is the broad avenue through which
thousands press into the brothel." The
•'dancing hall is the nursery of the
I02 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
divorce Court, the training ship of pros-
titution, the graduating school of in-
Olaus Magnus tells us that the young
people of the North danced among naked
sword-blades and pointed weapons scat-
tered upon the ground ; our young people
dance among far deadlier dangers than
Think of it, dear reader, picture to
yourself the condition to which a young
girl is reduced by the time that her car-
riage is announced. All the baser in-
stincts of her nature are aroused — to use
the words of Erasmus she has " a pound
of passion to an ounce of reason." Ans-
wer me, is she not now in a fit state to
fall an easy prey to the destroyer? And
yet in this condition
<* Hot from the hands promiscuously applied
Round the slight waist or down the glowing side,**
she is almost borne to her carriage by
an escort, " flown with insolence and
FUGE QU^ERERE! IO3
wine " arid whose condition is othei*wise
similar to her own, except that the ex-
citement of the moment makes him as
bold and ardent, as it renders her lan-
guid and compliant. He places her
panting form upon the soft cushions,
and with a whispered admonition to the
coachman not to drive too fast, he en-
sconces 'himself by her side. But here>
as upon an earlier page, we must leave
them. The hour, the darkness, every-
thing is propitious — it is little short of a
miracle if she escapes.
" Look out, look out and see
What object thU may be
That doth perstringe mine eye ;
A gallant lady goes
In rich and gaudy clothes,
But whither away God knows.**
But let us charitably suppose that the
sequel is only a continuation of the li-
cense of the waltz, and that she reaches
her home with merely the smell of the
fire through which she has passed upon
I04 THE DANCE OF DEATH..
her garments — let us suppose that
the Ah si liceret f of Caracalla has not
been answered by the yielding quic-
quid libet licet of his mother-in-law —
and what is the result? The flame
that has been aroused must be allayed.
If she is unmarried, then in God's name^
let us inquire no farther; b.ut if she
is a wife then is the dear indul-
gent husband at home privileged to
meet a want inspired in the embrace of
'* the first dancer in the valley/* and to
enjoy some advantage, at least, from the
peculiar position which he sustains to-
ward the matronly dancer.
And now may we not take a peep at
the fair danseuse as she comes into the
breakfast-room at noon next day. Is
this broken-down, used-up creature the
radiant beauty of the night before 'i. Can
it be that that " healthful recreation," the
Waltz, has painted those dark circles
round her eyes and planted those wrin-
kles on her brow ?
. PRESTO ! CHANGE ! IO5
'^Alas, the mother, that her bars.
If she could stand in presence there,
In that wan cheek and wasted air
She would not know her child.**
She is paying now for the sweetness
of " stolen waters " and the pleasantness
of bread "eaten in secret." For the
next week what pleasure will husband,
father, or brother, derive from her
society. She is ill and peevish — she is
damaged both in body and soul. For
the next week, did I say ? Well, I
meant until the next invitation to a
dance arrives. That is the magic elixir
that will brighten the dull eyes and recall
the dead smiles to life. Then invoking
the rejuvenating spirit of the cosmetic-
box and tricked out in the finery which
those most near, but not most dear, to
her have toiled to purchase, she will
sally forth to lavish upon the lechers of
the ball-room a gracious sweetness which
she never showed at home.
But where is Apollo all this time ?
I06 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
We left him burning with half satiated
lust before the gate of his paramour s
mansion. Where will Ae go to complete
his debauch ? At what strange foun-
tains will Ae quench the flame that is
devouring him ? Go ask the harlot !
SAe will reap the harvest that has ripened
in the warm embrace of maids and
mothers. She is equally fortunate with
the husband described above. Ah,
well ! verily it zs an ill wind that blows
The Waltz is, therefore, in its effects,
fearfully disastrous to both sexes, but
nevertheless the woman is the greater
sufferer — physically, because what is
fatal excess for a woman may be only
hurtful indulgence for a man, and mor-
ally, because she loses that without
which her beauty and grace are but a
curse — man s respect.
r And her punishment is just, her fault
being more inexcusable than his. For
THE WOMAN AND THE MAN lO/
woman is the natural and acknowledged
custodian of morals. It is she who fixes
the standard of modesty — a variable
standard, it is true, different in different
ages and countries, but always sufficiently
well-defined. She draws across the path
of passion, lines limiting, on the one hand,
the license of masculine approach, on the
other, the liberty of feminine concession.
To a certain extent man may blamelessly
accept whatever privileges she is pleased
to accord him, without troubling himself
to consider *'too curiously" their con-
sistency with the general tenor of her
decrees. It is her discretion in such
matters that must, in a large way, pre-
serve the race from fatal excess. When,
therefore, she shamelessly violates this
sacred trust which nature and society
have confided to her, it is to be expected
that the ball-room roti^ should regard
her as something lower than the harlot,
who at least ministers to his lusts in a
I08 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
But, what is worse still, she also loses
moral caste with those who have more
than a negative respect for honorable
women. For even your gentleman is
no professor of heroic virtues, and the
same easy courtesy with which he dis-
misses the soliciting courtesan, restrains
him from wounding, even by implica-
tion, the merely facile fair being whom
favoring fortune has as yet prevented
from taking to the street. He dissem-
bles his disgust, begs the honor of her
hand for the next dance, flutters her
pulses to her soul's satisfaction, and re-
gards her ever thereafter with tranquil,
philosophical contempt. And so they
come to mutually despise each other; she
sets no value on his flattering praises, he
no longer cares for her good opinion —
the wine of woman's approval has gone
stale, and the sunshine of man's admira-
tion is darkened in her eyes.
**So she looks into her heart, and lo ! Vacuc^ udts et inania
arcana * * * And the man is himself, and the woman
herself; that dream of love is over as everything else is over in
life; as flowers and fury, as griefs and pleasures are over.**
*' Wir haben lang genug geliebt, und woUen endlich hassen.**
UT this "innocent amusement"
entails worse consequences than
these. It is the high-road to the
divorce court, it has brought
strife and misery into ten thousand
happy homes; truly it is the "abomina-
tion that maketh desolation."
Take the case of the poor, dull, stupid
Benedick who, like Byron with his club
foot, dances not at all. He is a splendid
no THE DANCE OF DEATH.
man of business, perhaps, and is highly-
respected on change; but here, in the
ball-room, what is he ? A dolt, a ninny,
an old fogy, a nuisance — to be snubbed
and slighted by the woman he calls wife
for every brainless popingay who
''dances divinely/* He has been proud
to toil from day to day to be able to
purchase costly apparel with which to
adori' this far better half of his; now he
has the felicity of seeing the fine fruits
of his labor dangled about the legs of
another man; he had supposed her the
"wife of his bosom,** yet,, behold! she
reclines most lovingly on the bosom of
another; she is the mother of his children,
yet as she quivers in her partner's arms,
her face is troubled with
"The half-told wish and ill-dissembled flame/*
He has, pride enough to attempt to
look interested, and to affect ignorance
of his own shame, but the sham is ap-
parent. Note how uneasily he sits upon
ONE OF THE MERRY-MAKERS. Ill
the benches provided for such "wall-
flowers " as himself. Anyone who Mrill
take the trouble to observe him, can see
that his heart is not in the waltz in which
his spouse is taking such a lively interest.
Approach him, now, and tell him that it
is a very nice party, and that he seems
to be enjoying himself. " Oh very nice,''
he answers with a ghastly grin intended
for a smile, "I am enjoying it greatly."
But now incidentally remark that after
all you have no great liking for these
"fancy dances," and see how quickly a
fellow-feeling will make him wondrous
confidential, as he answers:
" To tell the truth, I don't like them
Perhaps you have known him when a
bachelor and have seen him dance then.
You mention this fact.
" O yes," he answers, " of course I
used to dance; but can't you see that
there is a mighty deal of difference be-
112 THE DANCE OF DEATH,
tween hugging other people's wives and
daughters to music, and taking your own
wife to a place where every fellow can
press her to his bosom and dangle his
legs among her petticoats? No, sir, I do
not like it, and if my wife thought as I
do about it, there would be no more
dancing in our family. ' I would rather
be a toad and feed on the damp vapor
of a dungeon, than keep a corner in the
thing I love for others' uses.' "
Follow the conversation up and you
will find that if ever Sorrow mocked a
festival by its presence it is in the per-
son of this man. He is not jealous, he
is outraged ; all the finer feelings of his
nature are trampled under foot, he is
grieved and deeply wounded beyond re-
This is the beginning of the end ; she
is never the same woman to him here-
after; he may smile and appear careless,
but none the less has that tiny satin slip-
THE END OF IT. I I 3
per crushed all the fresh love from his
heart. The second volume of his Book
of Life is opened ; the first chapter there-
of being headed " Estrangement," and
the last " Divorce.'*
And this is not an exceptional case ;
the writer will venture the assertion th^t
out of every fifty husbands who have
dancing wives, there' are at least a dozen
who if spoken frankly to upon the sub-
ject would express themselves in terms
of most bitter condemnation.
And what kind of men are those who
do not object to see their wives made
common property in this manner.'*
Well, there is your weak good-natured
husband, who would willingly suffer any
personal annoyance rather than thwart
the wishes of his beloved wife, no matter
how ill-advised those wishes may be.
The writer is personally acquainted
with a young and newly-married man,
whose experience will illustrate what I
114 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
have just said, though it is true that he
eventually came to see the error of his
ways He had the misfortune to marry
a lady who was excessively fond of
dancing. He had never learned to
waltz himself, but finding it impossible
to remain a looker-on he determined
to acquire a knowledge of the intox-
icating art. He, poor fool, imagined
that when he had conquered the first
elements of the dance, his wife would
take particular pleasure in attending
to his further instruction. Picture,
then, his surprise and disgust when on
making his cUbut in the ball-room he
found that his wife would avail herself
of every pretext to leave him to shift for
himself — a conspicuous object for com-
miseration of the experts — while she
accepted the amorous attentions of every
clodhopper who possessed the divine
Were I, dear reader, to reproduce his
A MARTYR TO THE CAUSE. II5
exact words in giving expression to his
indignation at and contempt for an in-
stitution the effect of which is to ignore
the relations of husband and wife, and
exalt the accomplishments of the heel
over those of the head and heart, you
would be shocked beyond measure.
All his happiness was centred in this
one woman ; her good opinion was the
dearest thing on earth to him. When
therefore he found himself unable to
partake with her of the pleasures of the
dance, he tortured himself to acquire an
art which in itself had no attraction for
him, merely because he thought it would
render him more pleasing in her sight.
We have seen the manner in which she
encouraged his first attempts ; but the
wrong was to be deeper yet. Content
that h<er pleasure should not be spoiled
by his bad dancing, he allowed her to
choose her own partners, while he ap-
plied himself vigorously to his self-ap-
1 1 6 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
pointed task of learning to waltz "like
an angel/* Exactly how he achieved
this end is not quite clear. He was not
seen to practice much at the fashionable
gatherings he attended with his wife ; he
was too sensitive to ridicule for that.
Perhaps, like Socrates in his old age, he
found some underground Aspasia who
was willing to give him lessons in the
art. But however this may be, certain
it is that before long he had acquired a
degree of proficiency which was quite
surprising. Now, he triumphantly
thought, his fond wife could have all the
" Boston Dip" necessary for her "health-
ful exercise and recreation" without
submitting her charms to the embrace
of comparative strangers.
Alas, for his hopes! After walking
through the stately opening quadrille with
the "partner of his joys," he discovered
that as though by magic her card had
been filled by the young bloods who
CARIBERT'S DANCING-LESSON. II7
clustered about her; and then for the
first time he was informed that after in-
troducing his wife to the floor it was a
breach of etiquette to monopolize her
any further — he must either sit content to
see her whirl, spitted on the same bod-
kin with men he had nevfer seen be-
fore, or must turn his own skill to the
best account and
•* Give — ^likc her—caresses to a score."
It is more than likely that he adopted
the latter course — most of his class do.
' Those wives who are so eager, for va-
rious reasons of their own, that their
husbands should learn to dance, might
draw a wholesome lesson from the story
of Caribert, king of Paris, whose wife
Ingoberge would fain prevent him from
spending so much time in the hunting-
To this end she prepared a series of
splendid festivities, which she induced
115 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
her lord to attend. Now, fairest and
most graceful among the dancers were
two sisters of surpassing beauty, named
M6roflede and Marcovere. Having, at
his queen s express solicitation, essayed
the "light fantastic" with these ladies,
the good Caribert, who had before no
thought for any woman but his wife,
suddenly became so enamored with the
skill and grace of the sisters, that he not
only forswore the chase forever, but with
all possible despatch divorced I ngoberge
and married first Meroflede and then
And thus it is that this demon creeps
between the husband and the wife, and
sooner or later separates their hearts for-
ever. The sturdy oak may laugh at the
entering of the wedge, but his mighty
trunk will neverthefess be riven asunder
by it in the end.
But there is one other type of ball-
room husband, whose portrait must not
A SELF-MADE CUCKOLD. II9
be"" omitted. This is the miserable, sim-
pering, smirking creature who fully ap-
preciates the privilege of being permitted
to furnish, in the person of his wife, a
a well draped woman for other men s
amusement; who has an idea that the
lascivious embraces bestowed upon his
wife are an indirect compliment to him-
self ; who is only too happy to be a cool-
er to other men s lust in the ball-room,
and is content to enjoy a kind of matri-
monial aftermath in the nuptial cham-
ber. Can any human being fall lower
than this ?
Old Fenton has told us that flattery
"supples the toughest fool," but I regard
the man who thus willingly resigns his
wife to the palming of these ball room
satyrs, merely because her beauty and
gorgeous raiment bring notice upon him
as the owner of so splendid an article —
I regard this beast as a pander of the
vilest kind; and a most foolish pander
120 THE DANCE OF DEATm
withal, for he simply purchases the title
of cuckold at the price of his own dis-
honor and his wife's open shame. He
loves to hear it said that she "dances
divinely," though he knows that the
horns on his forehead are plainer to none
than to the fellow who tells him so.
Bah ! In the words of Mallet,
** He who can listen pleased to such applause
Buys at a dearer rate than I dare purchase."
The budding horns affixed to the hus-
band s pow in the fierce light of the ball-
room have not the simple dignity of
even the most towering antlers prepared
by the ''neat-handed Phyllis" of his
heart in the domestic seclusion and sub-
dued half-lights of a house of assig-
nation. In the one case he poses as a
suppliant for honors to mark his impor-
tunity; in the other his coronation is
the unsought reward of modest merit.
The Waltz may not make such despicable
creatures as I have described above, but
DEATH TAKES A HAND. 121
it at least affords them ah opportunity to
parade their own degradation.
But the modera Terpsichore has to
answer for, if possible, still worse conse-
quences than the seducing of our maids,
the debauching of our young men, the
prestitution of our wives, and the debas-
ing of human nature, both male and
female. She is worse than a procuress,
there is blood upon her skirts, she is a
From the day when Herodias danced
John the Baptist's head into a trencher
the dance has been the cause of
violence and bloodshed. The hate and
jealousy which smoulder within the
breast of the rejected lover, and which
he is struggling to extinguish, burst into
flame at the sight of her he loves folded
in ecstacy upon the breast of his rival.
His cup was already full — this is more
than he can bean
We may pass by Venetian masquer-
122 THE DANCE OF DEATH,
ade and Spanish fandango — where the
knife of the avenger sends the victim's,
blood spurting into the face of his part-
ner — and may look nearer home, at our
fashionable "hops" and "sociables."
where, though the Vendetta may not be
carried out upon the floor (and instances
of this are not lacking) it is nevertheless
declared, and where, though no mute
form be borne out from the ball-room to
the grave, the dance is none the less a
veritable Dance of Death — a dance of
murdered love and slain friendship, of
stabbed and bleeding hearts, of crushed
hopes and blighted prospects, of ruined
virtue and of betrayed trust.
** To save a Mayd, St. George the Dragon slew j
A pretty tale if all that*s told be true;
Most say there are no Dragons, and Vis sayd
There was no George — pray heaven there was a Mayd.*
ND now if I have succeeded
in showing the modern dance
as It is and the dancers as
they are, together with the
almost inevitable effects of the evil upon
those who indulge in it, my main
object is accomplished. I did not
set out to deal with theories, but
with facts. Indeed, did those whose
godly calling places them on the watch-
towers of the church, use a tongue of
124 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
iire to lay bare this pernicious practice,
and obey the divine mandate : " Thou
shalt teach my people the difference
between the holy and profane, and
cause them fo discern between the
unclean and the clean," and did those
whose office it is to spe^k to the mill-
ions through the myriad tongued press,
use a pen of flame to expose this grow-
ing iniquity, then would this thankless
task be spared me. But when
** Pulpits their sacred satire learn to spare.
And vice admired to find a flatterer there,**
then I say a layman must speak, or
the stones would cry out against him.
I have no personal or pulpit popularity
to preserve, would not preserve it if I
had at the price ot divesting this public
sensuality of its terrors, or at the risk of
not causing the types of dancers herein
painted to shrink from their own portraits.
It only remains for me, then, to make
a few concluding and general remarks.
SOME EXCEPTIONS. 1 25
It IS often urged that dancing cannot
be desperately wicked, because it is "tol-
erated by all except those of narrow and
bigotted religious views." A greater
mistake was never made, I assert that
there are hosts of men who never per-
mit the members of their families to
take part in round dances. Nor is
this the result of religious bigotry'.
With most of them "religion," in the
popular sense of the word, does not
enter into the question at all — they are
not too pious, but too chaste to dance.
In their eyes this familiar "laying on
of hands " is essentially indecent, and
they cannot see that the fact of its beings
done in public makes it any less inde-
cent. They will not allow even omni-
potent Fashion to blind them in this
matter, especially when they see that
the vice is most common among those
who lead the fashion.
Far be it from me, however, to imply^
126 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
that even the most ardent votaries of
the dance are blind to its impurity. No
indeed. I*? there one so-called respect-
able woman among them who would
submit to be painted or photographed in
the attitude she assumes while dancing
the latest variety of waltz — even though
her partner in the picture, instead of be-
ing a stranger just met for the first time,
were her most intimate friend — aye, even
though he were her husband ? Not one
of them would submit to be thus de-
picted ; but if some maiden could be per-
suaded, what a pleasing family picture it
would be for her husband and children
to gaze upon in later years! Had I
such an one to illustrate this book with,
the success of its mission would be as-
sured, with the simple drawback of the
author being held amenable to an offended
law for issuing obscene pictures.
Such a representation would imme-
diately effect the fulfillment of a proph-
A PROJECTED IMPROVEMENT. \2^
ecy made by the writer of a recent work
entitled "Saratoga in Nineteen Hun-
dred." In those times there is to be no
more dancing. The gentlemen, it is
true, are to engage the ladies for a por-
tion of the evening as in these benighted
day3; but instead of taking her on the
floor, he will retire with her to one of a
number of little private rooms with which
every respectable mansion is to be pro-
vided, and there they will do their hug-
ging in private. A great improvement,
certainly, upon the present plan, in such
matters as decency and comfort, but
scarcely in completeness.
It will only remain for the sons and
daughters of that future generation to
make dancing their religion. Let them
convert their churches into dancing-halls,
and set up an appropriate image of their
deity — the Waltz — ^upon the altars ; not
the decently draped Terpsichore of the
dark, pagan past, but the reeling Bac-
128 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
chante — flushed, panting, dishevelled,
half-naked, half-drunk, half-mad — of the
enlightened, christian present ; let the
grave priest give way to the gay master-
of-ceremonies, and the solemn benedic-
tion to the parting toast ; let the orches-
tra occupy the pulpit, and the "wall-
flowers " sit in the vestry ; let the pews
be swept away, and the floors duly
waxed and polished, but let not the tab-
lets of the dead be removed — they are
the "handwriting upon the wall,*' the
nteney ntene^ tekel^ upharsin, most fitting
for those to read who delight in the
Dance of Death. Then, when the
prayerbooks are programmes, and the
hymnbooks the music of Strauss, the
jingle of the piano may mock the dumb
thunder of the organ, and the whirling
congregation may immortalize a bard of
to-day by singing the following verses
of his composition to the "praise and
glory of '' — the Waltz :
A HYMN OF THE FUTURE. 1 2C;
" In lofty cathedrals the organ may thunder
Its echoes repeated from fresco-crowned vaults,
And the multitude kneeling in rapture may wonder^
But give me the music that sounds for the waltz \
The Angels of Heaven, in glory advancing,
Are singing hosannahs of praise to the King j
Unless they have women, and music, and dancing.
Forever unheeded by me they may sing.
Oh ! take not the sunshine that knows no to-morrow.
The rivers of honey and fountains of bliss.
Where the souls of the righteous may rest from their
They have not a joy that is equal to this.
When the dead from their graves stand in awe and des-
And the trumpet calls loud on that terrible day,
To our names on the roll there will be no responding —
To the music of Love we*ll have floated away.*'
But having brought this delectable
*' recreation " to the utmost pitch of re-
finement of which it is susceptible — a
condition it bids fair promise to attain
in a few more seasons, I feel that it is
time, as Byron has it, to " put out the
light." I therefore conclude with a very
brief exhortation to my readers.
To dancers one and all I would say :
130 THE DANCE OF DEATH.
Try and see yourselves as others see you;
remember that there are many harmless
pleasures that have about them no taint
of filthy lust; above all cease to believe
DT to assert that the modem waltz is an
'* innocent amusement."
To the women, in particular, I say :
Set your faces against this abomination,
which is robbing you of man's respect,
and is the primal cause of infinite misery
To the men I would say: Those who
are the natural arbiters of what is per-
missible between man and woman, have
shown their weakness and betrayed their
trust; it is now for you to show your
strength and redeem your honor.
You who are unfavorable to the mod-
ern dance, I adjure not to let your oppo-
sition be merely negative, but to work
positively for the putting down of the
evil precisely as you might for the sup-
pression ol prostitution or any other cor-
rupting influence. For as surely as thy
soul liveth, this is " a way that seemeth
good unto a man, but the end thereof is
OPINIONS OF THE PRESS.
"It is not too mach to say that this book is the most powerful arraignmont
of the most popular of dances that was ever put in print. It may be an un-
comfortable book to read, but any man or woman who picks it up is sure to read
it to the^end. "—^m«ric<»» Bookseller.
"It is one of the ablest protests ever penned against the sins of the ball-room
and the pernicious tendency of the modem waltz. Young men and maidens,
married men and women, have gone on whirling and hugging each other in pub-
lic with a freedom which would certainly never be tolerated in private. The
glare of the gaslight has covered a multitude of sins, as many a mature man and
matron will admit, and many a sullied maiden has found to her sorrow. While
society has kept on winking at all this and deceiving itself into the belief that
the young persons were doing no harm, one man has stepped to the front and
boldly denounced what he not inaptly terms ' The Dance of Death.' The book
is so remarkable in every way that we present our readers with its salient
points." — Chicago InUrocecui.
" It is a fiery philippic against the deathly tendencies of modern dancing.
Whether one agrees with the conclusions of the author or not it will be difficult
to put the book down without reading it." — Chicago Evening JoumaL
" There has been nothing issued from the press which gives the reader such
an unfavorable opinion of the waltz as this little book. It is a tract of the most
powerful kind. To the husband who does not care to see his wife held in the
arms of a libertine and gliding over the floor, and to the wife who is jealous of
the woman embraced in her husband's arms, the book will make no new appeal.
The author has undertaken a good work, and we regard his book as a powerful
sermon against a most detestable and dangerous amusement."— (7A<ca^ Pott.
"It shows in language of remarkable boldness, the essentially immoral ten-
dency of the waltz. One feels hardly warranted in finding fault with the words
he uses in setting them forth, for really it ought to be so exposed as to strip away
all social and fashionable disguises."— C/i/caj/o Standard.
" The Dance of Death," should be read by every ignorant but virtuous woman,
and by every head of a family with growing girls in charge. Even those who go to
it incredulous, as we did, will be convinced by the quiet intensity and Jeremy
Taylor-like vigor of the author's righteous indignation, and shudder at the
abysses of sensuality and nastiness he indicates. It is the book of the time, in
this country, and nowhere mora so than in this very city of Washington."—
WoiJiiiigton National Intelligencer,
"This iB, or abould bo oa opooh-maldnff Iwok. It is ezooodingly well and
powerfully written, and with a direotnesa of purpose and plainness of lanfiraa^e
which oommand attention. Assnredly it is no fanciful or bigoted opposition t«
innocent amusement that inspires this book. As to whether " The Dance of
Death ** should be read by every body, perhaps it is too late to consider a question
which has already resolTod itself. We tTUnk that a /rank communieaiian qfOUa book to
the young it cbriro&la, and we do not think that any girl capable of conseeutiTe
thought can take harm from its perusal. We are decidedly of opinion that the
case against the waltz is proved, and we may say that the most alarming proof of
a general decadence of morals conceivable, would be the fact, that this book had
exercised no influence in causing the waltz and its congeners to be discarded by
society."— tSocromento DaUy Union.
"It seems high time that somebody should ca!l attention to practices that ap-
pear to be disgracefully on the increase, even if the shaking up be as rude as that
administered in the pages of this * Dance of Death."— iS. F. Morning CaO,
" The book is a most uncompromising attack upon the ' modem waltz.* Th%
writer is well acquainted with his subject, and writes in a bold, fearless, and at
the same time classical and elegant style. The author of the book— a gentleman
of high standing in San Francisco, whose name, were it substituted for its paea
donym on the title page, would furnish all requisite evidence of the integrity of
his purpose— has most cordial letters of endorsement and encouragement from
leading literary men and women, clergymen and others, East and West. No book
was ever put in print so likely to create a revolution in the dancing customs of
society. It is not blatant, frothy or bigoted; it is cool, clear, logical, dealing only
with facts within the author's range of knowledge, and subject to his proof. It
seems hardly possible that any father can tolerate the thought of 'bail-rooms'
after reading ' The Dance of Death,' or that any woman can compromise herself
by entering one."— Soa Frandjsco Evangd,
" This evil, the waltz, so insidious in its approach and influence, has existed
long enough amongst us: it daily gains power through the sanction of Fashion,
and Heaven only knows— though our author hints at it— what stage of legalized
lubricity it may reach unless promptly attacked and slain. Many ladies whose
position and breeding should render them impassable and Immovable, will doubt-
less lose their temper and confess their sin by their indignation. Many gentle-
men, of oily manners and principles, will, of course, be furious at finding a look-
ing-glass in the pages of 'The Dance of Death.' But we nevertheless do plainly
advise Mr. Herman, if that be not his true name, to publish another edition (for
the present will soon be sold out) with his veritable praanomen, nomen, and oog-
nomen upon the title page, and to fearlessly rely upon the support and counten-
ance of all pure and honest men and women for his vindication."— £!an FrancUmo
" * The Dance of Death,' by a San Franciscan, is a powerful attack on Him^^m
as a licentious amusement. Certain ly no gentleman having a high respect for his
chastity will indulge in such an idiotic and demoralizing fandango."—^. F. Galdm
"Th« uffwnont is in many respeots consistent and admirable, and the Writing
•hows a praoticed hand, large reading and accompi ished scholarship. The aathof
is said to be a gentleman of San Francisco and an artist of repute."— 5. F. Chranide,
*' It will require something more than scoffing to negative the force of this
earnest attack. The redhot shot have too much of truth to be lightly turned
aside. The yotaries of the mazy whirl must needs call up their entire reseryeg
if they would meet the onset of this uncompromising reformer. The spirit in
which the book is written, its strong illustrations of the evil it deplores, and the
pointed, earnest, courageous sentiments of morality it espouses, will command
for it the sincere respect of all lovers of purity and home. This book is such a
orjstallization of all the evil influences of the voluptuous dance that it dispels
all doubt in the premises, and will det-ermine many a vacillating soul to nerve
its resolve against ever again indulging in the Dance of Death."— iS. F. Evening
"A fierce denunciation of the waltz, as a danoe in which the rules of modesty
are frequently violated, in which young ladies learn to tolerate liberties that
would never be permitted under other circumstances, and in which the first ap-
proaches are often made toward dangerous license. The author discusses the
subject with bold thought and vigorous language, looking at it from many sides,
and bringing up illustrations and evidences from a wide range of reading.
This most comprehensive and forcible essay will be received with satisfaction
by thousands.*'— iSon FranUseo AUa.
** The author writes evidently under a deep conviction of the truth, and gives a
voice of warning in terms that well nigh take away the breath of the reader."—
California Chriatian Advocate.
"A startling book, written with intense force and vigor."— ^on FrwuiKo Mail.
"The literary sensation of the day is undoubtedly the little brochure recently
published in this city, entitled the * Dance of Death.' The whirling waltz, with
its modem improvements, is described as it has never before been described in
the English language. Byron's celebrated verses are weak and meaningless com-
pared with the trenchant and scathing sentences of the portrayer of the ' Dance
of Death.' The book is a good one, and it is sure to have excellent effect. It can
begin to number its converts already. We do not believe that there is a false or
exaggerated line in the book from beginning to end. It will establish a lasting^
reputation for the author."— &m Dranciaoo Monitor and Guardian.
" As a literary composition it is a treat. It is one of the books, if not the book
of the day. and should be read by all who care to keep up with the times."— iScm
Fi-ancuito Daily Stock BeporL
*' It is a most remarkable book, and has taken like wildfire within the few weeks
it has been issued. It will make the reader think. '-'-OaXc^and Prem.
"It maybe fearlessly asserted that after having read it none but an avowed
libertine would proffer, and no lady who had any care for her reputation accept^
an invitation to particiiAite in a waltz."— Oo&toid Tranacrijpt.
OPINIONS OF THE PRESS.
"We haTe read from cover to cover the ' Dance of Death,' and do not wondei
at the sensation it has created. The author's powers of description are certainly
wonderful, and remind us of the high coloring of Boccaccio."— Xos Angeles MeraUL
" This is no ordinary work, and it is a pleasure to read so well written a book.
The style of writing is vigorous and polished, a model of good English. "—Pteoef
"This is the most remarkable book of the age ; it has almost entirely stopped
round dancing in California, and we believe it vrill have the same effect all over
the world."— /St Helena Star.
"This is a remarkable book, and one, the effects of which on the rising genera-
tion cannot but be considerable. The writer of it is a consummate master of lan-
guage, and his attack is severer and perhaps more just on the evils of round
dancing, than has yet been made by preacher or xaoraliat."— Stockton Herald.
" No one who reads this remarkable work will deny that the author is a vigorous
and powerful writer, and that he strikes at the root of a deeip and moral scourge.
The book is as full of scathing sentences and burning denunciation as one of
Juvenal's Satires, and we hope that it may find its way into the band of every
husband and parent in the land."— ftyeXca Daily Sentinel.
'* This book has created a greater flutter in social circles than anything pub-
lished within our remembrance. Its pages should receive the earefnl perusal of
IHirents, and the equally careful attention of the young. One thing is certain, it
will be read."— r^ yew North-west.
"The book is written with remarkable and intense vigor and courageously as.
sails a custom whose tendency is immoral." — Portland Oregonian.
" The language of the writer shows him to be a cultivated and vigorous writer.
The plainness of the langtiage is at times absolutely startling. The great ma-
jority of people will heartily concur in his condemnation of the modem waltz."—
Virginia Evening Chronicle.
** We feel pleased that there exists a pen bold enough to denounce the evil
complained of in so masterly a manner and in such vigorous English. If we mis-
take not it will work great good in the social world."— Xo« Angeles Express.
*'It shows a picture easily recognized, and will, we think, work a needed re-
form."— S. F. Dally Hotel Gazttte.
" It is a book that should be read by all and its remarks cherished."— Or e^nton.
"This is the latest literary sensation and is creating a furore. The pictures of
a modern ball-room are drawn with wonderful poviBv.'*— Nevada Slate Journal.
*'Such a publication, in our jnd;;ment, was timely, and. indeed, necessaty in
order to correct an evil palpable to all who pay the slightest attention to such
subjects."- San IVanclm} Examiner.
**No work has been published in modern times upon wbich has been expressed
such a wide difference of opinion. It is well written, and the subject of dancing
is handled in the choicest language."- 5toc^-tort Independent.
** If ever a meritorious and worthy pablioation was sent into the world, it is
this offepring of the heart and brain of William Herman. This litis work will do
more good than the press and pulpit coold accomplish. It is a book which
parents, and their sons and daughters who have arrived at years of discretion,
should read."— TTerf Coast Signal.
"We think most readers, even among those who indulge in dancing, will find
his arguments striking if not convincing. We doubt if the waltz had received a
harder blow since Byron's famous satire. We think ' The Dance of Death ' wor-
thy of an extended reading."— r/ie Chicago Alliance.
" There is one remarkable fact about that remarkable book * The Dance of
Death;' the clergy generally endorse it and recommend its circulation, while the
so-called ' worldly ' and pleasure-loving people denounce it as utterly immoral
and bad. This fact cannot be without significance. It is one of those paradoxes
underneath which a reflecting mind sees a tmth."—I\tzgeraleF9 Borne Newspaper
and Educational Journal.
[Selected from a vast number received during the short time the book has been
before the public. ] ^
Mrs. General W. T. Shebman writes:
" I have read your book, ' The Dance of Death,' and I must say I admire your
courage, and believe you have shown as much heroism as any crowned martyr, in
your defence of virtue and your denunciation of what is so calculated to drive it
from the hearts and minds of fashionable women. I have always given this
miserable danoe a silent condemnation, by refusing to allow any of my daughters
to participate in it, under any circumstances ; but I have avoided the evil as
something at the sight of which my soul revolted, without being able to say any-
thing against it, either from experiences or any absolute knowledge of its most
direct and pemipious effects.
Now it must cease. Women of virtue or self-respect will now blush to have the
dance named to them. An amusement which leads, in any case, to such results
as you have pointed out, should be forever discountenanced ; even if they should
oontinue it for a while in order to assert their own innocence and their non-
concurrence in your views, they will be only too glad to let it die out.
I am rejoiced that you have spoken boldly and told all you know about it."
The Rev. B. F. Tailob, writes:
"Last evening I purchased a copy of 'The Dance of Death ' and read it through
at one sitting, and now hasten to thank you for the noble, manly utterances you
have expressed. As a minister of the gospel I have preached on the dangers of
the dance, but dare not, in the pulpit, treat the subject with your plainness. I
hope all the mothers in the Uad will read your book, and if Ihmd a dAv^hter I
ivoald have no hesitancy in plaoing it in her hands.**
[ So many letters of a simiUu: purport have been received from olergymen, that
it is impossible to publish them. This is given as the tenor of alL ]
The Rev. O. P. Fitzqebald, ex-Sunerintendent of Public Instruction for
the State of California, writes :
*'Tbis is a most remarkable book and its publication will make astir. It
abounds in passages of wonderful power. Parts of it are as keen in satire as
Juvenal ; other parts are suflFused with a pathos that is startling in its intensity.
Every parent ought to read ii. If we mistake not, its publication will afFeot the pub-
lic mind something like the shock of a powerful galvanic battery.'*
The lady principal of one of the chief female educational establishments on
the Pacific Slope, writes to request that a copy of "The Dance of Death " be
sent to the principle male educational establishment as she particularly de-
sires it to be read there.
The same lady has introduced many of her persona) friends to the author, to
enable them to procure advance copies, but in no way has she shown her approval
of the work more plainly than by reading it, " chapter and verse," to her senior
class, a member of which writes: *' Mrs. ^has begun to read your book to oar
class: she spoke to me about it, and said she agreed with you perfectly." Nor
was this done unadvisedly, as the following letter will show.
Dio Lewis writes to the lady above alluded to, by whom he had been
furnished with an *' author's copy : "
" I thank you for the volume—' Dance of Death.' Please
say to the author that, in my humble opinion, he has done his work most power*
fully and effectively. It is the vulnerable point in the enemy's works. No one —
no decent woman of any age, can read the volume without finding it difficult, or
impossible, to waltz again. I feel myself greatly indebted to Mr. Herman. Is
that his real name ? Please tell me how I m(ty address him. Oan't you, dear
madam, read that volume to your young ladies? It will do great good,"
The Pastor of a Presbyterian Church, writes :
** I am glad you have written it. • • • With the object of the book,
the abatement of a dangerous amusement— dangerous as now conducted to the
moral purity of its devotees— I am in full accord, • • • ^^y treatment
that will aid in abating the evil must be not only justified, but commended. I
sincerely hope your book will go into the hands of the fathers and mothers of
our whole land."
A Rev. Father of St. Ignatius College, San Francisco, writes to a friend :
** The author describes one of the greatest evils of present as well as past times.
His colors, no matter how heavily laid on, are far from exaggeration. The evil
is there— toe know it, who are left to heal the sores of the soul ; they know it,
who, with the indulgence of eaay parents and the sanction of law and fashion,
avail themselves of the opportunity to satisfy their morbid passions. * * * I
wonld that ev»ry tether and mother Btaeuld read M, and even yeung ladies. • •"
• T¥ith us, Oatholios, the matter is settled ; we know all about it. It is difficult
to speak each things from the pulpit ; but we are glad^tbat troth is made aoces*
■ible through a book of this kind."
A. 8. Babnes, of the well-known New York school-book publishing Arm
" You have evidently taken the bull by the horns, and produced a book which
should be read by every parent and guardian. The writer is a little at loss to-
decide whether it is a book for young girls and boys to read, and yet he is not
certain but that it should have a free circulation. If you are inclined to send n»
the plates, we will either publish it or find a publisher for yon.
Gen. Albebt Pike, of Washington, D. C, writes :
"I have received and read "The Dance of Death." I think it is true, every
word of it. The waltz is only fit for houses of prostitution, and I never have
been able to understand how any father could permit his daughter, or any hus-
band his wife, to waltz with other men. But, ehaeun i son gout. The chief
object of dress and action of young women now seems to be to excite men's pas<
sionate desire. A general reform is needed, and the preachers will have to talk
as plainly to women, by and by, as they did some centuries ago in France."
The Bev. R. S. Stubbs, of Yancouver, in a long and eulogistic letter, says:
" This book fills a vacant niche in the temple of literature, not occupied by ser-
xnons or homilies.
•Mr. Stephen Massett (** Jeems Pipes, of Pipesvllle,") writes :
"Among those who have spoken in praise of your powerfully written little
book— 'The Dance of Death,' let my name be enrolled."
Geo. T. Bbomuey, the OaliforDia humorist and lecturer, writes :
"I have been deeply interested in your forthcoming work— 'The Dance of
Death,' and the impression left upon my mind after its perusal was, that as a.
restraining influence in this fast age, the book should be in the possession of
every parent, and earnestly read by all who have an interest in the moral welfare
of the present generation as well as that to come.'*
Mb. Henbt Edwabds, of the Califomia Theatre Company, writes :
"I have no doubt but that your volume will have a very large circulation, and
that its opinions will sink deeply into the minds of those to whom it is addressed."
Mr. Chables A. Mobse, a naval gentleman, well-known in Cal. writes ;
"I must say I liave an admiration for the author who has the boldness and in-
dependence to probe so popular and fashionable a moral ulcer, and express hi»
ideas and convictions in good old Saxon, without half concealing them in gener-
alities, for fear of offending the sensitive reader. * * * In my judgment, thes«.
are truths to which we must not close our eyes, and they are here presented with
an earnestness of expression that carries conviction of the author's sincerity of
purpose. It must work a great good in time."
J. Y. Bti>zb. of Clereland, Gbao, writes :
**I am in sTmpatiij with yoa od the " waltz." snbjeet. I have always pTO>
€lairoed acainst the improiKietj of so macb axdent hncsing on short acuauntr
anoo as the eostomaiT waltz admits of. Your shaking np of it is powerful-"
Mr. J. S. JoinEs, a weJI-known merchant of San Fnmciaoo, writes :
** Yoa have photognphed the ball-rocm eorrectlj."
C. W. M. SafiTH, a lawyer of Ssa Francisco, writes :
Your work ** has opened op to my mind new fields of thonght which it would
not be wise or prudent to isnorSk The proofs therein contained of the lascirions
thouchts and actions incident to participation in the round dances, should lead
tts to sineerelj consider whether or not we should permit our wires and daueh-
ters to share in them."
8. D. 8tstshs» of San FranciBco. writes :
** When we come to look back to what we know onraelres, we must admit that
jon have not orerdrawn the picture. It is a book that from its Tsxy boldness
will be eagerly sought for and read, and cannot help but do much good. Many
will condemn it who fear the truth ; so much the better, for they show ttisir
eolozs, or ignozance, of the subject treated. "
Bbacsbbzdgs Hkmtno, ("Jack Harkaway/') writes :
**Yon hare brought to bear long study and deep research— not sparine the
Imife, in laying bare this excreeence on the body social,'*
a. H. LooMZs, s jonmaUst and artist, writes flrom East Gambridge, Mass. :
** No doubt these things are true * * * I shall, with many others, re-
joice when cause and consequences are «s apparent to others that ought to know
and comprehend as they are to you."
Says Henry L. Chambbbuon, a gentleman eminent in religioas circles in
San Francisco :
" I do not think jou have exaggerated the dangers, nor spoken too plainly of
the corrupting inllaenoes of the modem waltz. I beliere the book will do good,
and cannot see how it can do any harm."
One of the most favorably known lawyers in San Francisco, writes:
" I have read your little book aloud to the Principal of the High School of one
of our neighboring cities, and he endorses everything I say when I declare that
yon have done a good, compared with which, the preachings and teachings of
the ordinary lifetime of ordinary men pass into insignificance. What can I say
more 7 * * * In regard to the plainness of your talk, this only can be
said, that the subject admits of no other treatment."
The Bev. Fathsb Agoolti, S. J. an eminent Catholic clergyman of San
" EUving carefiilly perused your excellent book, ' The Dance of Death,* I can-
not forbear expressing my full approval thereof, and I cheerfully endorse every
line contained therein. • • • Some persons may think that yon have
employed colors too high in depicting the moral dangers of the fashionabla
ianoes of the day. But if those who practice them would read yoar pa^s witb
an unprejudiced mind, I am sure they would own, at least within their own
beart. that you are perfectly right, and perhaps would confess that the reality if
still much worse than its portraiture. You hava opened, dear sir, a campaign
against a public evil."
The Eev. Fatheb Bajiohi, S, J., writes;
" I am full of admiration for your bold, learned, and irresistible condemnation
of a public and domestic evil, no less scandalous and ruinous than common and
attractive. • • • You are a true Seneca— stigmatiy.ing the most cor*
rupting, widespread, lascivious practice of our age. I am glad to endorse every
word of your valuable work. I should also bo glad if your work were put into
the hands of every father and mother. As for boys and girls, if they are bad. it
will render them no worse; if good, it will open their eyes. * * The
Catholic Church has long since anticipated your views, and through her Bishops
Pastors and Confessors, condemned these demoralizing evils, and deterred her
children from this disorder— denouncing them with the severest penalties."
The same reverend father received a letter from a lady to whom he had
submitted a copy of the book for examination, from which the following are
" I agree with this same William Herman in all he says concerning this matter.
He will. I imagine, be more readily endorsed by those of his own sex than by
those of mine. We are not apt to admit that it is possible to sin, when we may
only be the innocent cause of oxhers sinning. Better a thousand times that our
rhildren's eyes should be opened by the tbuths contained in the book, than that
their soul's honor should be sullied."
George Howard, a gentleman well-known in San Francisco as President
of the Knights of Pythias Library Association, writes :
" 1 am convinced that it is a work that is much needed. • • • •
I have often watched the lascivious dances you have so ably described, and having
resided for several years in the Hawaiian Islands, I am thoroughly convinced
that the Hulahula of the natives is not half so demoralizing in its effect as the
Major A. F. Beitdbr of San Francisco, writes :
" I have never been a dancer, and did not know that such effects as yon desoibe
could result from what has always seemed to me a harmless amusement ; but
Kince the book has become a subject of conversation, I have heard enough to
convince me that it has not appeared at all to soon. I think that parents cannot
enough recommend the courage that has enabled you to oppose in so public a
way an evil of such proportions."
Mr. W. T. Carleton, of Hess' Grand English Opera Troupe, says :
"I can only record my entire concurrence in your views. All who read 'The
Darice of Death ' should first carefully familiarize themselves with the preface*
and should they then eensure the author, their objections will surely be baaed
upon vicious bigotry or a wilful blindness to the truths expounded."
Ifr. Jos. Bbowv, Ex-Hayor of St. Lonls, writes :
*' It is a shame thaA society countenances snch things, and it is more responsi-
ble for the min that grows out of it than the victim. Yonr little gem of a book
should be in the hands of OTery mother who has children growing up."
Mr. Edwabd Wilson, of the firm of Wilson & Adams, Philadelphia, writes:
" I have a copy of your remarkable book. I began reading it the evening it
oame, and did not go to bed until I had finished it, for it was most fascinating.
I fear I shall be a poor critic, however, for I do so entirely agree with yon. I am
«ure you are right, and if the book is as widespread as it should be, there will be
many to thank yon, for it will awaken the guilty to a sense of the evil they are
cultivating and make them * hold on.' I think you have most graphically de-
tailed the horrors of one of the most crying evils."
Db. Bbown, it. S. N., writes:
" I have read the * Dance of Death * with unusual interest, on account of its
merits. The subject is graphically treated, with a commendable terseness.
* * * It forces the attention alike of those who approve and oppose."
Dr. J. C. Tucker, of San Francisco, writes:
" Many young (and old) * society men ' have admitted to me their knowledge
" from others * of the bestial horror you so boldly War against. I trust your
righteous crusade against this fearful moral iniquity may prevail."
General Lucius H. Foots, of San Francisco, writes:
" I have read and re-read * The Dance of Death : ' it is a remarkable book ; writ-
ten with a wonderful vigor, and more than all, it is a naked truth. You have
uncovered a hissing serpent, and it will do good. I predict that men and women
will read it and stand aghast. You have shown admirable courage in attacking
the dragon singly and alone, but thousands will rally to your support. ' Let the
galled jade wince,' you will be sustained."
Prof. Alonzo PhbIaPS, A. M., of Boston, Mass. writes :
" It is a masterly production, and cannot fail in its laudable and worthy pur-
purpose and endeavor— to redeem society from a degrading social indulgence."
E. D. Farnswobth, P. Gt. Sire I. O. O. F., writes:
"The bold and fearless manner in which you have handled the subject should
entitle you to the gratitude of all parents. • • • I have no word of
censure to express, but would say to all : read 'The Dance of Death,' and answer
for yourselves as to its justness. The preface should be assurance that you have
endeavored to deal fairly with the subject, and without condemnation of the
Pay Director J. C. Cunningham, IT. S. N., after bestowing praise which I
do not care to repeat upon the book as a literary production, goes on to say:
" And as for the matter of the book, the author deserves yet higher pnuso, for
he says a truth that should be told, but few dare tell."
H. M. BoswoBTH, of San Francisco, writes:
** Of the subject, as yoa have experienced it, I know nothing ; but as one of tht
most immacalate women of my acquaintance, who knowa something of ball-room
annoyances, says * Amen I * to the book, I can safely say I think yon are right.'*
J. H. FrrzQiBBON, a prominent business man of St. Louis, writes:
" There is a moral to be drawn from it— never let your wife or daughters fa-
dnlge in round dances, for this is the road to perdition. * * * It is a
book that should be in every well regulated family."
THE BORROWER WILL BE CHARGED
AN OVERDUE PEE IF THIS BOOK IS
NOT RETURNED TO THE LIBRARY ON
OR BEFORE THE LAST DATE STAINPED
BELOW. NON-RECEIPT OF OVERDUE
NOTICES DOES NOT EXEMPT THE
BORROWER FROM OVERDUE FEES.